The Idiots Chair was a two channel video installation in a coastal motel in York, Maine. It became an invented history of sorts, fictitious in the end, but rooted in York’s history.
The imagery in the video is a response to our research of early York and the images we encountered there, primarily the presence of antique chairs, chairs used for torture devices, and also the presence of suffering female characters. The sound of counting is an audible representation of the carvings in the floorboards of the jailhouse. The narrator counts to 100, then backwards from 100 speeding her pace. The cuts between images become faster, more manic and nightmarish. The video culminates in recreated events surrounding the Candlemas Massacre of 1692.
The scenes of the woman with the dresses allude to the female characters, but also this "trying on" and "shedding" of histories. Projecting through layers of tulle created a dream-like atmosphere, referenced the fabric in the dress scenes, and created a generational loss of the projected image, much like the loss of the original histories. It expanded the flat projection into a space that visitors could move through and allowed their shadows to come into the projections, implicating them in this invented history. For more information on the project, visit Portland Monthly Magazine.