Borderline/Peace Movements    

Borderline/Peace Movements This project was initiated and led by Collective Action Studio in San Francisco. In 2018 the project presented participatory video projection art at Untitled Art Fair on the facade of the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. At the Untitled Art Fair a mobile projection unit called “The Grasshopper” utilized live video feeds to place the body of the audience, viewer and of the live performer, Jaleesa Johnston back into the video being fed to the facade projections. This work then also captured participants' movements and gestures around the theme of "Mudras". The video captured live on site was further integrated into prerecorded imagery of environmental crisis, performance centered on generational trauma, and the language of gesture in a range of cultures. Featured artists at The Unitled Art Fair included, Fernanda D'Agostino, Jaleesa Johnson Tra Bouscaren Peace Movements/Mudras is a movement project led by Justin Charles Hoover and Collective Action Studio. I worked with Collective Action Studio on video production, editing and live interactive programming for the culminating public events of the ten-week residency. Guillermo Galindo provided an original sound track.  In partnership with Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco and Chinatown Community Development Center, funded by San Francisco Arts Commission IAC program, Peace Movements explores the contradictions of martial arts or performance art as a form of physically embodying peace, and looks to artists to explore how they use the martial arts or movement arts as a way to resist cultural expectations. This series also developed a performative movement language that culminated in a series of live performances with artists Justin Hoover, Yunuen Rhi and Featherpistol.

Video: Borderline/Peace Movements/Mudras

Video: Borderline/Peace Movements/Palace of Fine Arts


Borderline/Mapping deployed projection mapping along with live coding to create an immersive installation in the public lobby of a busy video production studio at Open Signal PDX. Borderline/Mapping breaks apart the component elements of the Borderline project and maps them onto the architecture of a public place frequented by all kinds of people. Like a deck of tarot cards, each individual loop of content holds meaning. As they are mixed in real time via creative coding different associations can be made. At times the nine-channel mix is predominantly scenes of nature and feels more hopeful; at other times a sense of foreboding emerges as scenes of disasters driven by climate change and ominous government surveillance video dominate the map.

Video: Borderline/Mapping


Borderline/Decameron exhibited at Disjecta, looks back at the polarization brought about during an earlier period where the world seemed to be coming to an end, the Black Plague of the late middle ages and early Renaissance. What I was interested in with this piece was not so much the plague itself but how half the society, as exemplified in Boccaccio's Decameron,-was challenging every societal piety and norm, while the other half was clinging ever more tightly to established doctrine and not only burning books and works of art that challenged the establishment, but even burning people who expressed what seemed to be heretical views. In Boccaccio’s story cycle, set during the first outbreak of the plague in Florence, a group of seven women and three men escaped into the countryside. Each night for ten nights each of them told a story. These stories questioned every dogma of the time. This is the frame for Boccaccio’s Decameron which is to this day considered one of the most transgressive literary works ever produced. During times of crisis some retreat into pieties and some question everything. Borderline/Decameron aims to revisit that spirit of questioning and rebellion in a contemporary setting. Mirroring the social construct and framework of Boccaccio’s tales, Borderline/Decameron also included an evening of guided story telling around dinner tables, focusing on stories of migration and facilitated by an artist made story telling card deck, and a cohort of guides representing the growing diversity of the city. This card game and our evening together recreated some of that same spirit of openness and interrogation, leading both to uncomfortable moments and to shared warmth and laughter.

Video: Borderline/Decameron


Borderline/InBody collaboration (Jaleesa Johnston, Sophia Wright Emigh, Fernanda D’Agostino) began in Open Signal PDX’s Future Forum program. We share an interest in the body as a site of memory and in how generational trauma manifests in hidden ways within our flesh. Our work draws upon dance, performance art, interactive video programming, and participatory installation, to create a charged landscape choreographed for exploration. Our personal histories of generational trauma based in historic events, and our group’s heterogeneity (in age, race, sexual orientation/identity, and career stage) has made the collaborative relationship particularly rich and productive. In/Body marries technology and live movement to explore the cyclical nature of simultaneously invoking and healing ancestral trauma through the body. Our shared interests in body memory and video’s potential to both collapse and expand time and space locate In/Body within an interdisciplinary and experimental line of inquiry within the field of performance and movement. In/Body’s exploration of trauma, ancestry and cycles occurs through a process that reflects and embraces the unknown. Creating movement that responds to the unpredictable mixing of images through Isadora software, the limitless shift within the performance mirrors the ways in which we process traumatic events within daily life. In/Body changes constantly, and this fluidity reflects the complexities of memory and various ways of accessing collective and personal trauma through time and in the immediate experience of the body

video: In/Body/Decameron

video: In/Body/TheMapIsNotTheTerritory

Borderline/The Map is not the Territory    

Borderline/The Map is not the Territory created for the atrium of the Portland Art Museum is the culmination of the Borderline series. At PAM the installation uses two transparent 17-foot-wide scrims and a floor projection to create a monumentally scaled interactive environment choreographing museum visitors’ explorations of the work. Because of the transparency and scale of the scrims, the projections were replicated over multiple surfaces animating the entire 1700 square foot volume of the atrium. Content was developed through research with open source footage of government surveillance video, of the U.S border, of refugees on the Mediterranean and European footage of their land borders during the crisis in former Yugoslavia. Parallel research investigated U.S. Forest Service scientific imaging of fire behavior and climate monitoring footage from NOAA.Live performance footage investigating generational memory, developed in collaboration with Jaleesa Johnston and Sophia Wright Emigh, completes the content of the piece. Mirror neurons are the empathy machine in humans. The sight of figures within the projections, activates a different quality of responsiveness for viewers and dissolves the separateness too frequently experienced when others are in crisis. In addition to the performance footage, video cameras place viewers in scenes of surveillance at borders around the world, as a way of making us remember we are all implicated and affected by these scenes of catastrophe or dystopia Through creative coding, a series of forty-two scenes, combining video and audio loops with a range of filters and effects, randomly dissolve into each other. Like thoughts coming in and out of focus, this randomization mimics the “stream of consciousness” flow of time vital for creating a liminal space inviting exploration. Initially an investigation of the intersection of climate change, mass migration and government surveillance, ultimately Borderline refers not as much to our current geographical border issues (although that’s in there) as to tipping points between harmony and chaos in the environment and in society, and also to individual psychological tipping points between empathy, and fear.


© 2019 Fernanda D'Agostino