Directory profile: Jack Pavlik
In my creative work I am currently focused on combining video, interactive sculpture, and performance. Thematically these works explore competition, dominance, and the displacement and alienation created by the pursuit of power and the need to maintain control. The sculptures are made of everyday objects, such as folding chairs and desks, which I convert into performative objects by altering and connecting them to each other through mechanical constructions. They then become props for use by actors in minimally scripted situations, which are captured on video. Manipulated by performers to the point of failure and collapse, these appropriated objects, which can be either open or closed but can often only be occupied by only one person at a time, become symbolic of people’s desire to control and alter situations and to be the victor in competitive scenarios. In these performative videos, as in the real world, one person’s action easily undone by the next person’s reaction. By using appropriated forms that are familiar to the observer, I aim to provoke viewers into mentally placing themselves into the altered architecture of ordinary folding chairs. I see these objects as metonyms for the institutions – schools, offices, factories, and the like — that forcibly shape our behavior; my transformation of these chairs into performative sculptures should be read as a critique of competitive situations (and economic models such as the “zero sum game”) and ideas regarding ownership and occupancy. And just as in the real world ownership and occupancy are temporary states, people’s bodies move through space, object, and time to manipulate and to be manipulated by constructions that alter their behavior and position.