Tracing the Veer

On View from May 25 – June 10, 2023

Exhibition Reception: Thursday, May 25, 5-7pm
Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art & Design
ICA Gallery hours:
Wed–Sun, 11:00am–5:00pm, Thursday, 11:00am–7:00pm

The Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art & Design is proud to present DB Amorin’s newest iteration of Tracing the Veer, a mediated experience incorporating elements of video, audio, sculpture, and print-based works. In Tracing the Veer, Pacific Islander artist DB Amorin recontextualizes valuable source materials—personal recordings of conversations between himself and his mother and late grandmother—into light-based, auditory, textural, and visual patterns and forms.

The work in Tracing the Veer synthesizes years of collecting, transcribing, and mapping family histories. Through this autoethnographic process, Amorin examines the nuances of storytelling and how different narratives intersect or contradict, and ultimately how one’s legacy influences self-identity. While the pride and care felt towards these stories are profound, the narratives are intentionally obscured in this body of work. The obfuscation is two-fold: it reflects how information becomes more and more generalized over the course of repetition and generational passage, and it also confronts the ways in which Indigenous stories can so easily be tokenized in public spaces. Rather than sharing narratives verbatim, Amorin protects the source material from casual consumption through an extensive process of recording and re-recording until the conversations become illegible. This process involves inexact translations made physical: sound waves engraved into clay, magnetically erased cassette tape, blank laser-cut acrylic records, oscillating video of mapped-out intersecting anecdotes, visual static between image files, and more. Light, shadow, structure, and placement within the gallery are used to both reveal and conceal knowledge. The viewer experiences the buzzing and hums of overlaid sound and projection, suggesting the multi-generational cacophony of history that gets passed down. Tracing the Veer embeds the richness and complications of shared cultural identities while also signifying the imperfect process of remembering.

DB Amorin (b. Honolulu, Hawai'i) is an artist addressing audio-visual non-linearity as a container for intersectional experience, often focusing on the role error plays as a generative opportunity. His media-centered projects are the result of DIY methodologies, lo-fi translations and persistent, inquisitive experimentation of available materials. His work has been supported with awards from the Oregon Arts Commission, the Ford Family Foundation, Regional Arts & Culture Council, the Precipice Fund grant funded by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the Calligram Foundation and administered by Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA). His visual art and curatorial programming have been exhibited at the ImagineNative Film + Media Arts Festival, A Space Gallery (Toronto, Canada), Luggage Store Gallery, Soundwave ((7)) Biennial (San Francisco, CA USA), PICA, Oregon Contemporary, FalseFront (Portland, OR USA), the Honolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu Biennial 2019, Doris Duke Theatre (Honolulu, HI USA), among others.

Header Image: DB Amorin, Tracing the Veer ("sounds every turn in silhouette"), 2019. Laser-scanned ceramic, digital rendering. Courtesy of the artist.