new-york

Xavier Cha, Untitled, 2012, four-channel HD video, color, sound, 13 minutes 15 seconds.

Xavier Cha

47 Canal | Grand Street

Xavier Cha, Untitled, 2012, four-channel HD video, color, sound, 13 minutes 15 seconds.

“Room tone,” or “presence,” in filmic parlance, is shorthand for ambient “silence,” the specific quality of background noise at an actor’s position, recorded to convincingly render his or her voice. A sound inspired by room tone—and amplified to an intense, dissonant whine—is the foundation of Xavier Cha’s Untitled, 2012, a four-channel video work installed on large flat screens that recently filled the constricted space of 47 Canal.

Moving across the screens, eighteen slightly larger-than-life-size portraits (showing the front and then the back of each individual’s head) linger for various durations, appearing one after another. Set against clinically white backdrops, Cha’s carefully selected cast, culled from an open call in Baltimore, represents a diverse range of ages, races, and genders. Their intently locked gazes meet the viewer’s (that is, the camera’s), always

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