Birdwatching

Joshua and Alaina Enslen create an “intertextual history” of the Brazilian poem Song of Exile, written in 1843 by Antonio Goncalves Dias. Although less known in the US, it is one of the most imitated poems of all time, inspiring thousands of parodies and pastiches. Because Song of Exile glorifies Brazilian landscape and culture, it has been used both for nationalist causes and as a way to criticize the government. With the advent of the internet, its use has skyrocketed. The works exhibited here are a portion of a multimedia installation the Enslens have created in Portugal. Their art depicts information collected from search engines and social media platforms, representing literally thousands of data points. Some pieces reference the cool detachment of minimalist art. Others suggest the lyrical quality of the poem’s primary metaphor, a bird. The poem starts and ends as an abstraction. It is language made into data, which in turn the artists transform into visual art. The Enslens make beautiful abstractions that reveal Song of Exile’s longevity and influence. - Jackie Skrynski