Emily Francisco: The Ocular Harpsichord Revisited
November 8, 2023 – January 14, 2024
Common Ground Gallery
Utilizing disrupted signal flow, cheap consumer technologies, and discarded obsolete devices, Emily Francisco’s work largely deals with fragmented time. Collecting existing objects and processing the physical and metaphorical weight those objects carry, Francisco pieces together these disparate elements in an attempt to make things whole. As a result, she creates objects and environments that require activation; work that is incomplete until the viewer is present and engaging in the moment.
THE OCULAR HARPSICHORD functions musically and works as a twelve-channel live video mixer. The instrument is wired to trigger a system of color-tinted security cameras displaying closed circuit video feeds through seven monitors. The harpsichord was donated by Katzen Arts Center Facilities Management Employees who were instructed to discard the instrument. Funding to convert the harpsichord into a twelve-channel video mixer was provided by The Foundation for Contemporary Arts. Originally constructed between 2013-14, the harpsichord was redesigned in 2022.
About the artist
Emily Francisco is originally from Honolulu, was raised in Missouri’s lead belt, and was educated in Saint Louis and the District of Columbia. Her exhibition record includes IA&A at Hillyer, Rhizome DC, Transformer, Area 405, GlogauAIR Project Space, Vilnius Academy of Arts, The John F. Kennedy Center, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Her work has been reviewed in The Washington Post and Hyperallergic, and she has discussed her work at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art. Emily is currently based in Washington DC and maintains a studio at STABLE Arts, works as the AV administrator for a massive federal art institution to support her kid and their furry friends, is an adjunct at American University, and is preparing for an upcoming project residency at the Media Archeology Lab in Boulder, Colorado.
Image Credit: Paul Moon, The Ocular Harpsichord, 2014