Better Close Than Never
The Maidens of the Cosmic Body Running use media as a performance of desire, perpetuating delusional relationships with the natural world. Their work is presented as a fictional “record” of natural space, reduced to a slick and seductive surface.
The Maidens are the Summit Hotel’s year-long artists-in-residence. Hotels are powerful sites for the Maidens. Often situated near places of natural beauty (the Summit sits near the confluence of the Little Miami and Ohio Rivers), they provide a clean, safe home base from which one can fantasize about the idealized natural world ‘just over there.’ The Maidens’ project, inspired by the romantic trope of the ‘moon on the river,’ lures the viewer into a pursuit of romantic natural experience, not through a direct immersion in nature, but by the distanced viewing of its processed (and even sometimes abstracted) image in the narcotic light of video.
Towards that end, the Maidens are making the Summit Hotel itself into a work of art. Their work is situated throughout the hotel: Room 534, strategically located over an outdoor terrace, is customized for the purpose of a participatory/performative event, and the Summit Gallery features an immersive installation. They are also creating ‘suspect’ therapeutic products for purchase in the hotel shop, a Maidens-customized cocktail for the bar, and semi-fictional artifacts of their own purported visits to the confluence on full moon nights. The resulting experience for hotel visitors and viewers is one of the slippery nature of truth, presented with pleasurable and humorous effect.
Artists: Denise Burge, Lisa Siders, and Jennifer Ustick
Maidens of the Cosmic Body Running, Reflaxion, 2022. Digital photograph, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artists
Maidens of the Cosmic Body Running, The curtain-opening act, 2022. Digital photograph, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artists
Maidens of the Cosmic Body Running, Which way to the confluence?, 2022. Digital photograph, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artists