Kaela Smith, “Untitled”, 2010, two channel video installation with glassware, fighting fish, feathers, mirrors, and found objects, dimensions variable.

Kaela Smith

Kaela Smith (b. 1992) recently returned to the area after a year at Cal Arts in Santa Clarita. For this exhibition, Smith has created a video mosaic which employs an inside/outside dichotomy, especially as pertaining to barriers and obstacles (seen and unseen). Each set of images reflects a different expression of the text. A central cabinet composed of nine separate screens, arranged in a 3×3 square, augmented by ‘real’ objects from the rapidly changing images plays with the idea of variation of expression and the difficulty of homing in on one’s precise intentions. A separate, stand alone screen represents a different interpretation, looking into the text rather than describing its exact experience.

Below is a full transcript of the text spoken in Untitled:

in the end, it almost always (never) stays the same
by virtue of the sound, senses.
it’s in ripples, a wave, wind
endless apologies for my wandering mind
like a glass of water on a rickety table
it sways
gravity-crooked & mockingly choleric.

I am trying to tell you something
unhinge me

vanquished screams line the throat
portend eventual escape
while reliable silence belies it (while solid teeth belie it)

nothing comes out.

I am I was it is we are stuck, stagnant
small, separate

doubts that grow like weeds from the belly up-
infest the heart, infest the lungs, infest the throat,
the eyes
with tips like blades that brush the base of the brain.

the body is deceitful. it will trick the mind.

repetitive patterns that keep us alive
a distant crackle
radiowaves like tiny strings tying people together

a community of sound. following. a droning. voice.
love is love is love is love is love.
love is love is love is love
love is love is

all lace &



rubber madness spoils new tongues & whistles distantly

and thus it was
I loved a pig

there are things I don’t remember.
the potent presence of a voice deposits me elsewhere
hummingbirdme. instectme. y
ou finite mouth,
I am not, nor was I ever, meant to be human.

yet here I am.
the structure of feeling. the limitation of documentation
I will not retrace my steps
devour me. abandon me. I will always be far away.

later that day, I became a fabulous opera;

the sea

ballet dancer

a bug,
under my bed.

Smith describes her installation as being inspired by the idea of looking through a fishbowl. Being on the inside and looking out is quite a different experience than being on the outside looking in, and it is the same way with expression. The frustration lays in the varying interpretations of the text as well as the frustration that comes with never being fully able to express yourself ñ that the idea and the expression will always be distorted by something outside of yourself and interpreted in different ways, which I believe to be simultaneously the beauty and the downfall of expression. The actual content of the installation (both the text, sound, and images) reflect the way an idea, be it the slightest inkling of an expressible thought, takes hold of its host, and almost possesses it into madness unless it can be expressed.