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Rosa Aiello, A River In It, 2015, video, color, sound, 9 minutes 41 seconds.

Rosa Aiello

Eli Ping Frances Perkins

Rosa Aiello, A River In It, 2015, video, color, sound, 9 minutes 41 seconds.

“Just walk in a straight line. . . . Go ahead, forward. . . . Proceed straight ahead, go on, go on. . . .” Though sometimes indistinct, at one point dropping to an intimate but distorted whisper, the voice-over in Rosa Aiello’s video A River in It, 2015, doesn’t let up for more than a few seconds of the work’s nearly ten-minute duration. Directing its unseen subject (the viewer?) ever onward, it varies in tone from reassuring (“Whoops, careful. . . . It’s OK, go ahead”) to official (“At this time, keep going straight”) to impatient (“Don’t stop! Why are you stopping?”) to bullying (“You have no choice, just do it, do as I say!”). Demanding that we press ever ahead, it keeps us on constantly shifting ground.

Accompanying this narration, voiced by artist Olga Pedan, is an ominous mix of other sounds—regular breathing; a repeated low piano note; a slow, rattling beat; and the

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