The works in Stills and Composites were created in response to recently discovered video footage from the wedding anniversary celebration of Day’s great aunt and uncle in 1983. A home video camera was situated in the corner of the dance floor of the VFW hall, where guests repeatedly bumped into it. At times, the camera was pointed at the ceiling, or the back of a partygoer’s head. The resulting film is a fragmentary, unobstructed recording of time. For her exhibition, Day employs found materials and architectural constructions to explore this mise-en-scène—restaging the video from different perspectives.
For the installation Playbacks #1-5, Day extracted audio from the video, which plays on a row of five vintage Pioneer Mimmy headphones. The disembodied sound of an entertainer playing love songs on a Casio keyboard echoes through the headphones, as if just on the other side of the wall. Day’s wall-mounted piece Cascade (One’s one and only) was inspired by the corsages and boutonnières of the guests in the video, and fashioned from the vinyl of a found seat cover. Transparent and yellowed with age, the hand-stitched flowers cast a warm glow on the gallery wall.
The large-scale installation The light I’ll be (1983) is central to the exhibition. Composed of a white-walled cube, each side is interrupted by an impassable opening that offers a tantalizing view into the interior. Day has constructed a maze of walls and surfaces inside the cube, collapsing and manipulating the viewer’s perspective. Curator Cecilia Alemani notes: “Day’s complex installations seem to also evoke a specific temporality, which proceeds with ruptures and hiatuses instead of being linear. Similar to Gordon Matta-Clark’s practice of physically altering spaces and places, Day’s artistic vocabularies challenge the sense of history and evoke a vertigo of displacement, both physical and temporal. It is a matter of a temporal tension between form and its deconstruction, between wholeness and the fragment. Day’s works vacillate between inside and outside: they are fragments of an architectural environment that appear like slices cut out from buildings. Looking at these structures, it is difficult to say whether they are in the process of being built, if they are the structural parts of a more complete work, or if they are what remains of an old family memory.”