Elizabeth Withstandley is a research-based video installation artist that focuses on individuals and communities. She works by experimentation, research and data collection to create conceptually driven projects. Her work is rooted in conceptual art, taking the form of multi-channel video installations that explore contemporary culture through a loose narrative structure. The works question individuality, personal identity, morality, and purpose of life, while presenting a portrait of a person, a group of people, a specific culture or location.
She is from Cape Cod, Massachusetts and currently lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. She is one of the co-founders of Locust Projects, a not-for-profit art exhibition space, in Miami, FL and Prospect Art a not-for-profit in Los Angeles, CA. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. Select past exhibitions include Antenna Gallery in New Orleans, LA , ATHICA: Athens Institute of Contemporary Art, Athens, GA, The Bass Museum, Miami, FL, MOCA North Miami, Snitzer Gallery, Miami, VisArts in Rockville, Maryland, Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA, The Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, The Tel Aviv Artists’ Studios, Israel, Cultural Center, Sao Paolo, Brazil.
13’ HD video projection
The Symphony of Names: No Man is an Island is an immersive multimedia project that delves into the concept of individual identity and cultural uniqueness beyond personal names. Originally designed as a four-channel composite video installation with a 10-channel audio mix, speakers, and acrylic islands, it is also presented as a single-channel video with a 5.1 audio mixdown. Created in collaboration with Icelandic composer Gunnar Karel Masson, the project explores the significance of surnames in shaping identity and cultural heritage.
Unlike many cultures where surnames hold great importance, Icelandic surnames have a distinct role, making them an intriguing subject to examine in terms of identity and naming. Through a contemporary interpretation of "the symphony," the project utilizes the human voice as the primary instrument, employing all 4,129 names from the Icelandic government name list. The resulting audio composition showcases the melodic yet slightly chaotic symphony of names, while the visual component portrays a young boy walking through Iceland's landscape. The composition features diverse Icelandic individuals reciting the names, providing a rich tapestry of voices and perspectives.
The Symphony of Names