It is written of Benjamin Valenza’s work that he plays with objects and language and gestures. While I agree, I sense that there is also something of the order of violence in his relationship to the things in his performances and that this aggression allows the humor in his play to be meaningful. It is as though he were trying to break the categories that usually hold signs together the better to equalize them—to create a horizontal structure in which a fish and a man and newspaper and a burst of sharp laughter are equivalent on a semiotic level.
The effect of this free-play is the disappearance of any single source of authority in the work. The equivalence of things submerges the artist in a struggle with his objects, with the words he is assumed to have produced, with the other actors who are supposedly there at his instruction. As the coherent, rational author of meaning, Valenza disappears himself.
The question that currently preoccupies Valenza in the studio is what do once disappeared. One solution is to re-work the documentation of scenarios he has already created, to reproduce the poorly recorded sound-track of Bath, for example. By breaking down the boundary between the document of an event and a post-production fiction, Valenza would turn the event itself into another thing in a chain of equivalence.
Natasha Marie Llorens.