Donna Conlon

My work results from observations of my immediate surroundings and the pondering relationship I have with the stuff right around me, in my house, my neighborhood, and the nearby forest. Much of this stuff is the leftovers of my/our consumption and provides me with material to analyze, in an archaeological and anthropological way, our current way of life and its inherent contradictions.

Two video works will be presented in the exhibition.

The first video, Urban Phantoms, poses Panamá City as a sculptural object atop a concrete post, and then proceeds to rebuild it with plastic and metal bottle caps, gum boxes, match boxes, and other bits of trash. The quirky movement of the animation takes its inspiration from flip books and clay-mation. The video ends with a sketch of a hollow bird flying over the plastic city.




The second video, Coexistence, was a response to the United States invasion of Iraq in 2003. As actors, I employed leaf-cutter ants, which are very common in tropical Panamá, where I live, and I simply took advantage of their normal behavior. They spend their days cutting bits of leaves from plants and carrying them to their underground nests where they will be chewed up and used as compost for the cultivation of a fungus they then use to feed to their young. They willingly carried additional artificial leaf fragments, which were painted with peace signs and the flags of the 191 countries that belonged to the United Nations at the time the video was made.The title of the video comes from a quote by Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India, “The only alternative to coexistence is codestruction”