Dani Dodge’s “Personal Territories” maps out a new way of looking at home
When we are young, we want nothing more than to get away from home. As we age, some of us want nothing more than to be home. Dani Dodge’s installation maps her own history of home and encourages visitors to consider their own tales of personal territory.
Opening June 17 at MOAH:CEDAR, “Personal Territories” is a room-sized interactive installation that incorporates video and sculpture while allowing members of the public to contemplate their own memories of home.
Dodge is known for crafting evocative interactive works that reflect ideas of home, formation of identity, and the secrets we hide in public and private spaces. She explores how many layers of transparency are required before opacity occurs.
Opening reception: 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday June 17, 2017
Location: MOAH:CEDAR, 44857 Cedar Ave., Lancaster, California
Exhibition runs through August 5, 2017
Hours: 2 to 8 p.m. Thursday through Sunday
Additional events: The exhibition will include four events—July 1, 8, 15, and 22—outside of the museum walls to engage the community in a dialogue about the personal territory we all tread.
To create the work, the artist, who grew up in California, relearned the art of sewing, something she abandoned after doing poorly in home economics at age 14. She re-creates her childhood bed in clear vinyl and shades of translucent fabric, hanging it from the museum ceiling. Each piece is a striation in her journey. Threads dangle from the seams.
A time-lapse video, reminiscent of Dodge’s childhood territory, projects onto and through the objects. It is at once visible and obscured as it plays upon the surfaces.
The installation allows the public to wander through this ephemeral representation of Dodge’s personal history, rendered in dreamlike colors and textures that at once conceal and reveal the details of her youth.
Sculptures made from the skins of mattresses dot the room. Visitors are invited to share their own childhood memories and ideas of home on wood blocks—one of the most solid items within the room—and hide them in shoeboxes under the bed.
Inspired by her personal history as a war correspondent, political journalist, and a young single mother who at one point lived in a car with two infants, the artist’s sculptures and installations reveal a range of powerful themes, including identity, memory, the fragility of home, and the nature of truth. At the same time, Dodge’s installation seduces viewers with its delicate monumentality and subtle but perilous beauty.
While no less contemplative, her “Personal Territories” public performances will be a celebration of community and home. At locations throughout Lancaster, she invites the public to share their own truths with her and others. The paper airplanes, drawings, and stories that result from the encounters will be on view at MOAH:CEDAR.
Personal Territories: Events
Interactive art with Dani Dodge
Saturday, July 1, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.: Joe Davies Heritage Airpark
Horizons Beyond the Homefront
Participants fold paper planes, write where they want to go on them and toss them into the “horizon.”
Saturday, July 8, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.: Prime Desert Woodlands
The Earth Is My Home
Participants fill in a 4-foot-tall image of the Earth with their thoughts and drawings of what the planet means to them.
Saturday, July 15, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.: Los Angeles County Library – Lancaster
The Setting for my Story Is Home
We all have a story to tell. Participants tell the artist a short story about their home, wherever or whatever it is. The artist creates a title for the story and types it on a vintage library reference card that the participant then files into a library card file.
Saturday, July 22, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.: Western Hotel Museum
Home as Heritage
Visitors to the museum think about their own heritage. They share the name of a relative who was a foundation of their family and a short story about that person. The artist types the story in no more than three sentences on parchment paper that becomes a “book.”
Bio: Dani Dodge lives and works in Los Angeles. Her work is included in three museum collections and has been shown across the U.S. and internationally. In 2016, Americans for the Arts named Dodge’s interactive installation/performance “CONFESS” one of the outstanding public art projects of the previous year.
She is a former newspaper reporter who was part of a team that won the Pulitzer Prize for exposing congressional corruption in 2006. She was embedded with the Marines during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and covered the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. She left journalism in 2008 to focus on art.
Note: Dodge’s opening reception is being held in conjunction with the 32nd Annual All-Media Juried Arts Festival, CEDARFEST, hosted by the Lancaster Museum of Art & History (MOAH) and MOAH:CEDAR.