Nichola Kinch and The Gerrymander Menagerie
By Katelyn Wood, Arlington Arts Center’s Curatorial & Exhibitions Intern
The term menagerie is derived from the French language, and was defined in 1782 as ‘an establishment of luxury and curiosity.’ Merriam-Webster now defines it as a collection of exotic animals – kept and trained for the purpose of exhibition. Coined in 1812, the term gerrymander refers to a political maneuver that manipulates the boundaries of voting districts for the purpose of political advantage.
As the 2016 presidential election grows closer, we’re bombarded with campaigns of those seeking to obtain a candidacy. With media coverage and speculation beginning earlier every election year, it is no surprise that Nichola Kinch’s The Gerrymander Menagerie portrays the political arena as a full-blown circus.
Pennsylvania-based artist Nichola Kinch is amongst the artists currently showing at AAC in the 2015 Spring SOLOS exhibition. Her work combines animation, optics, engineering, design, and 3D printing to create an exhibition commenting on the theatricality of politics.
As if coming onto a stage, the viewer enters the space through a red velvet curtain that opens up into a scene resembling a night under the big top.
Using her knowledge of Victorian-era image production practices and moving image machines, Kinch presents three interactive installations that animate symbols from the political world.
Horse and Pony show presents a handcrafted zoetrope that animates the iconic symbols of the traditional two-party system. Through 3D printed models of elephants and donkeys, Kinch invites the audience to indulge in the wonder of this analog animation.
Using a modified overhead projector, in Flock of Drones, Nichola mechanizes a lenticular animation of a series of drones that appear to fly across the gallery wall when using a hand crank.
The third element of this menagerie is a series of plastic 3D-printed shadow casters in the shape of silhouettes of the potential candidates for the 2016 presidential race. When back-lit Clown Alley projects the shadows of the potential candidates on the wall.