Critics’ Picks

Angelica Mesiti, Relay League, 2017, three-channel video, color, 8 minutes.

Sydney

Angelica Mesiti

Artspace, Sydney
43 - 51 Cowper Wharf Road Woolloomooloo
May 4–July 9

“Calling all, this is our final cry before our eternal silence”: This was the last Morse code message sent by the French Navy as a way to mark its retirement of the communication system in 1997. Twenty years later, Angelica Mesiti draws on these poetic words in her latest exhibition, “Relay League,” a journey following a message’s different stages of translation through nonverbal forms of communication.

A conversion of the ciphered text into a material medium can be found in Appel à Tous / Calling All, 2017, a wind chime of metallic dots and dashes representing the message that, when slightly moved, also symbolically transmits the code through vibrations. Also musing on sound, body, and movement are three video works (together composing Relay League, 2017). In the first video, musician Uriel Barthélémi interprets the Morse code as a percussive score. In the second film, located at the opposite side of the gallery, dancer Emilia Wribon conveys something she sees to the visually impaired dancer Sindri Runudde via haptic exchange. In an adjacent room, the final video commingles all works: dancer Filipe Lourenco is performing Barthélémi’s composition as a dance, while Vesterlund, viewers gradually realize, is actually relaying Lourenco’s movements to Runudde, through choreographed touch. The four pieces that make up this show are arranged along a twisting path, in private spaces divided by screens that filter sound throughout the space. “Relay League” sends a message about the necessity of communication, using Morse code as visuals, sound, and touch.