Trinity (2000)

Three bodies have fallen from the sky. They know nothing about who they are, or where they’ve landed. Their bodies cast sharp shadows on the ground. Is this planet Earth? One crawls, one sits, one stands. It’s as though the three men (do they know they’re men, do they know each other?) have suddenly been pulled into he evolutionary process. They fumble forward and begin to develop.

A person is first and foremost a body. If we remove all social influences and cultural patterns we find this one thing: a body that can be measured, weighed and studied. There’s something abstract and surreal about these American men. There’s nothing unusual about their features, and yet they appear strange. Are they Americans who have been placed in another dimension, or are they aliens, doing their best to imitate typical Americans?

Art during the last few decades has continued to return to questions concerning the social construction of human identity. This is especially true of the feminist art that developed in the United States during the late 1970s. With artists such as Sherrie Levine and Cindy Sherman the female subject is treated like an artifact – the result of media and social stereotypes and codes. It’s about time the same discussion, with the same intensity, is applied to male identity. How are men constructed?

These three men could use some help. At first glance they appear completely “normal”. But it’s as though they are in a room where all assumed meanings and obvious truths have lost their power. A room without culture, knowledge or prejudices. They seem to be moving in a sea of ignorance with no connection with one another. How did we get here?

Daniel Birnbaum

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