When it comes to the spaces we live in, there are few topics as contested as clutter. While some people are devoted to and even thrive in the midst of creative chaos, others feel oppressed and anxious being surrounded by random objects. For those of us who are not committed to or simply can’t up-keep a Muji-esque minimal space, working on any kind of larger project ironically goes hand-in-hand with living in an environment that resembles what is left after the end of days. The creation of one thing seems to go on a par with the destruction of another. This premise is at the heart of Robert Hall’s and Nol Honig’s extraordinary documentary short Nix + Gerber.
Since 2005 the artist Lori Nix and her partner Kathleen Gerber have explored the idea of a world post-mankind in their series The City. With extreme attention to detail, they create miniature models of subways, churches and libraries as they crumble and have nature take back some of the spaces. An anonymous graffiti from the May ’68 riots in Paris features the slogan “Sous les pavés, la plage!” (“Beneath the paving stones, the beach!”) Nix and Gerber’s work explores a similar idea, that of a repressed nature claiming back its ultimate superiority over man-made urban environments.
With this tension between creation and destruction at the core of their work, Nix and Gerber appropriately conclude the series by portraying their own studio. Once the picture of the diorama is taken the pair gleefully destroys months of their work. The lovingly-crafted tiny copies of Sleater-Kinney and Kate Bush albums end on a dumpster in Brooklyn, while the photograph is hung in a gallery. In just under eight minutes, Nix + Gerber manages to convey an incredibly rich meditation on the creative process and the space it occurs in.
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CREATED BY: The Drawing Room
SYNOPSIS: An observation of art, partnership, and the creative process, seen through the lens of post-apocalyptic dioramas.