There was a lull in the bad weather last night and The Observer was standing out front of the gallery Invisible Exports, watching a video by Lisa Kirk. Two newscasters were showing footage of what appeared to be a terrorist cell, eerily reminiscent of the photographs of Abu Ghraib. The newscasters were staring with blank faces, sometimes moving their mouths but mostly saying nothing. The video had no sound.
It was part of Ms. Kirk’s exhibition “If You See Something…” which opened last night at the Lower East Side gallery. The show is an extension of Ms. Kirk’s four channel video project on Governors Island, Backyard Adversaries. In it, Ms. Kirk filmed four children “playing Abu Ghraib” in the Hudson Valley, an eerie combination of dress up and war. (They were the “terrorist cell” that was being “reported” on in the video outside.) Inside the gallery was a trailer for that longer project, in which four other children that Ms. Kirk found on Craigslist narrate the action of the video.
“There’s an audio component,” Ms. Kirk told The Observer, “But it just died because someone forgot to charge the iPod shuffle.”
In the corner of the room, someone popped open a bottle of champagne and the cap flew across the gallery. Ms. Kirk and The Observer both jumped in fright.
The gallery was scattered with strange, almost nightmarish objects—highly detailed speakers and a video camera made entirely of wood, linen canvases that had been burned and shot with paintball guns.
As The Observer was leaving, Risa Needleman, one of Invisible Exports’ directors, was looking around in a closet.
“There’s audio,” she reassured us once more, “I’m just turning it on. I want to make sure you hear it. There’s just a lot of silence in it so I want to make sure it’s working.”
There was silence for along time. Then The Observer heard the sound of wind moving through trees. New York magazine’s Jerry Saltz was standing next to us. He looked over and said, “Is the sound on? I can’t hear anything.”
“Apparently there’s a lot of silence,” The Observer told him. “I just heard the wind blowing.”
“Who doesn’t like the wind?” he said and The Observer left. Outside it was raining again.