Amery Kessler, NYC
“Mirror Games”

MIRROR GAMES: Bringing to light the notion of playing a game as an experience capable of transcending a win/lose mentality.

Play in a fashion that makes both players responsible for making every move. While focusing on the game between them opponents appear to be seeing through to each other, as if looking in a mirror. The environment of competition for a quantifiable end meets an experience that highlights the social qualities of negotiation, attentiveness, and poetic and significant maneuvers.

I’m curious about interpersonal scenarios of communication in terms of ease, pace, and volume. How might the information age be redefining the responsibilities and expectations we have in conversation? Juxtaposed to new media, I would like to explore contemporary social interactions by providing a surreal interpretation of antiquated social exchange. For me, it is important to socialize, to play a game, in real time and immediate space. Especially if that game brings into light the notion that competition is only available by sustaining each other through cooperation. And more, that simply spending time in the presence of another is integral to a sense of gratification and verification.

For this piece, we will play a game of chess or checkers through a clear vertical pane of glass. A thin plastic clear and black checker board will be on each side. The boards will be held together by codependent wooden and magnetic game pieces. Each player is on opposite sides of the glass and collaboratively carries out a series of competitive moves. Their movements seem to mimic each other, as if a game of call and response or follow the leader is made nearly simultaneous. The game becomes both the point of, and metaphorical mirror to the actual social interaction taking place. A mirror being both the reflection and divide of self and other. It exposes play and competition as a barrier and common ground inherent to many interpersonal relationships.

Artist Statement

The objective and subjective uncertainty of relationships and a passion for finding ways to interact with people inspires me to intercede with the world as an artist. I create objects and objectives that allow for an interaction, a conversation of sorts, to take place. They serve as tangible barriers and points of connection representative of those people encounter daily. I create objects as both sculptural and utilitarian, not exactly play, not necessarily a game. The work is at its best when it serves as a means for people to be with a process instead of focusing on a product or outcome. The interactive scenarios are intended to be familiar, but with an unconventional transformation; a sense of, “I have done this before, or seen this before, but not exactly like this.” A few examples are a carnival game that builds a musical score, a fusion of funeral and drum circle, and tasks such as hammering or sewing valued for their experience rather than means to an end. I am drawn to simple, primal, basic forms of nonverbal expression, accomplishing a task, and cooperating. I am carving out some space to be- with others, on terms that I find underrepresented by an age exploding with information, social networking, and distorted presentations of success and progress. - Amery Kessler

Artist Bio

Amery Kessler is a multidisciplinary, New York City based artist whose practice often takes the form of an activity. He collaborates with visual artists, musicians, engineers, dancers, choreographers, film makers and educators. While the processes and mediums vary, Kessler consistently focuses on conceptual craftsmanship. His work and activities, exhibited in the streets, on stage, and in the gallery, explore themes of solitude, interconnection, human commonality,
work, play, and psychic and social innovation.