Rebecca Gaffney: The Second Sun is Brighter than the First

Alaina Stamatis

Image courtesy of the artist.

This Wednesday, artist Rebecca Gaffney's summer-spanning residency begins at Spectrum, a high tech loft for avant-garde music and multimedia performance on the Lower East Side. Her show is titled, “THE SECOND SUN IS BRIGHTER THAN THE FIRST AND WILL BURN FOR 1 MINUTE & A MILLION YEARS.”

Gaffney, whose video work incorporates classic club beats with glitching light, subliminal “selfies,” and atmospheric videos from happy weekends, is a beloved Bushwick Renaissance woman (multimedia art, music, writing, vibing) and a collaborator with members of the legendary experimental outfit Excepter. The events celebrating her show reflect Gaffney's connection with her community.

As for the future and its second sun, Gaffney asserts: “I will tell you how it's been to do a bunch of shows with Lala (Ryan) and all our other shit we have planned—epic.” She took an installation-break to answer my Gmail questions regarding her show.

The pineal gland is believed to be a “vestige remnant” of a larger organ. Do you have any feelings on what the organ might have been like, its function or how it looked?

Maybe the pineal gland was more of a third eye, was a more primitive photoreceptor for processing light into creative and—hopefully—lovingly directed energy for circadian rhythm synthesis, mood regulation, general human functioning, well-being, productivity, maybe even reproductivity. Maybe it got refined and lost the physical shape of a literal 'eye', became more of a refiner of all of these so crucial hormones – more of a figurative third eye than a literal. Maybe first it was a survivor gland but it'll turn into a thriver gland, the pineal gland will one day itself be vestigial – maybe all these wonderful chemicals that get so fucked up in so many of us now will evolutionarily be bred out into a higher functioning state. And maybe we're headed to a place like a reverse clan of the cave bear – where in another million years of evolution, we'll be future telepathic, what we consider superhuman abilities now will be normal. Empathy, telepathy, non-duality, regularly existing in other dimensions – who the fuck knows? I think this could be likely. A few things might help along the way in the short term. Maybe losing the fluoride/pineal-calcifier in our drinking water, and getting out of the psychopathic leadership model our history has run on for so long, in alternative communities as well as governments, strobe, travel, mental interval training, endless reserves of compassion, humility and absolute, utter striving for badassness. Happenings, all the time, not in the 60's way all the time, maybe just in nature, leaving, being open to all people, regardless of sex, age, color, infirmity. LOL so ridiculous we even need to say this. I thought racism and sexism had been cured when I was 5. Open up. We're all the same. That's where we're headed man.

For your artistic habitation at Fitness, you enveloped the gallery in mylar and installed suspended mirrors in choice locations. Do you plan to create reflective surfaces at Spectrum?

There will be some reflection there, for sure, but instead of a room in a mylar sheath, it'll be a slightly more 'Happening' (as in 60's Happening) environment combined with spaceage low-res crazy vid heads or figures bobbing in and out. Or it could all change at midnight. It probably will all change. Let's hope it all changes and you come across something totally different, just a white room which, at the door, everyone has to leave their clothes, but it's swathed in fog, so it doesn't fucking matter. Or you walk in the door and get punched.

Your residency at Spectrum is divided into three performances. Do you intend an evolution from the beginning to the end?

There will definitely be an evolution, through the course of each night and the course of the show, in a troublemaker way.

Can I add one more thing? Occasional portraiture brings about the treasure each of us is. While working crazy hours on this show the Zimmerman acquital came through. I've been staying in Bed Stuy and the neighbors have been lovely—I feel 'home', and maybe a little more cracked open than I might be at other times. I was standing by the bus stop today carting gear to test for the show, and a teenage boy in an orange outfit rode by me on a bike, he had a big orange sunflower sticking up out str8 out of the handlebars and his energy was so sweet and good. Then a maybe 17-year-old boy walked by, shirtless, thin and his shouldblades popping out so vulnerable, braided hair hanging limp and cool in the heat—and then I saw a lovely elderly man, just lovely person after lovely person, and I just started to cry, cry for all the lovely people I've met out here, all the people who just have said 'hi' or talked to me about the dog I'm walking or just anything. And I hate this fucking verdict, and I think a part of seeing into someone, seeing their uniqueness and beauty, leads us into protest as an art form to protect it, each person's uniqueness. So while we're doing crazy happening stuff inside (of Spectrum) I'll be projecting a protest video outside onto ludlow street from the window —”f*ck this verdict, f*ck florida'.

Second Sun Spectrometer from rebecca gaffney on Vimeo.

Spectrum // 121 Ludlow St second floor
New York, NY 10002

Schedule of performances curated by Rebecca Gaffney:

July 17 // 7:30pm Opening
Performances by:
Lala Harrison Ryan (Excepter)
Aurora Halal
Mind Dynamics
AnimalHouse
Pvre Matrix
Half Life & Matt Radune (DJs)
Rebecca Gaffney
Gold $lum Sidewalk Money God
Allison Wwonderland (performance art)
Alaina Stamatis (performance art)
Miles Pflanx (performance art)
GLuuuuu (performance) art
Stephen Boyer (performance art)
Laura Blüer – light parade
featuring Lala’s grandma’s Artillery Punch

July 26 // 7:00 Gallery Night
Performances by:
JFR (Excepter)
Flex1000
Radiator Grays (From D.C.)
Rosemary Arp (From D.C.)
Rebecca Gaffney & Drew Gibson (Baby Birds Don't Drink Milk)
Vincent S. Baeza
Sugarman
Lazurite & Ed Wilcox & Rebecca Gaffney
Untitled Miles Pflanx Project
Laura Bluer Viz-ic Interference

August 16 // 7:00pm Closing
Performances by:
DJ Whatever 21
Lingerie
Normally Important
Agressiva (mem. Glazz)
Jelos Orgasm
Fluct
Jazz Massagers
Amber Ibarreche
Vincent S. Baeza
Jenna Cecilia
Nyssa Frank

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