Mandy Morrison


Mandy Morrison’s process explores how the body projects itself in varying contexts. Her focus is on how physicality’s expression, and capacity for agency and mobility are affected by colonized or corporatized structures. Linking capital and context to the politics of movement, her interest derives from a body’s meaning, in having different forms of entitlement to public, private and mediated space. Over the years, her collaborative efforts with video and performance engage with architectural environments and include, dancers, youth groups, and local community participants. Her works have been performed, exhibited and screened internationally at festivals, galleries and museums, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Kunstlerhaus e.V., Hamburg, and CINESONIKA in Vancouver. Grants and fellowships include the Illinois Arts Council, New York State Council on the Arts, Wexner Center for the Arts, and Sacatar Institute in Bahia, Brazil. A distinguished educator, she has been faculty at Pratt Institute and Rutgers University, and a visiting artist at Sarah Lawrence, the University of Minnesota., University of Wisconsin, SUNY (Oswego).

Project Description

Journey of the Invader Spirit

Filmed while an artist-in-residence in Bahia, Brazil, this will be a 10-12 minute video of an invented Origin Myth fusing the cinematic mash-up of Brazilian telenovela and silent films, that includes local schoolchildren, Capoeira practitioners and the residency staff in Brazil (comprising the project’s core participants). The video connects colonial overreach- through an Evil Invader Spirit (fusion of deities) with current environmental, consumer-culture realities and is laced with dark humor and fantasy. The character, a pernicious foreign ‘Invader Spirit’ aligns colonization, slavery and plunder that was birthed in the ruins of a Catholic monastery. The Spirit relishes in the havoc created through environmental degradation, terrorizing the local populations by way of consumer lust and discarded waste. Over time the Spirit’s malevolence gets confronted, by those who rise up, aided by Capoeira (Afro-Brazilian) martial arts practitioners and angelic Spirit Beings.  

The final goal is to have a completed video of Journey of the Invader Spirit, with Portuguese/English narration, animated sequences throughout, and an original sound score. An exhibition venue in Baltimore (The Peale Center) is scheduled for 2022. As part of the exhibit, I plan to host a live Capoeira event (partnering with a group that is based in Washington DC). When safe to travel, I plan to return to Brazil to have a public screening and exhibit in Salvador, Bahia with the video’s participants, at an outdoor cinema event. Additionally, through introductions made at the Modern Art Museum in Salvador, I would have the opportunity to show the video along with other installation works. Also, there are other screening/exhibit possibilities in Sao Paulo through the contacts that were made in 2019. The grant will also provide some funds for the archival storage of current projects and older work.