Jacolby Satterwhite’s first institutional solo show in New York, You’re at home revolves around his multipart, digitally-animated series Birds in Paradise. The exhibition manifests as an immersive environment of video projections, virtual reality, live performance, sculpture, and a retail store styled to resemble a defunct Tower Records. Inside of the store lies a newly released double LP album titled Love will find a way home by PAT—a collaboration between the artist and musician Nick Weiss.
You’re at home extracts motifs from the videos on view, and creates a sculptural environment that blends the real and the digital. A concert stage becomes an elaborate installation, as spinning disco balls above it refract a synchronized light show; artificial plants snake alongside their 3D-printed counterparts; and an LED wall within the stage loops the title chapter of the series. In Birds in Paradise, Satterwhite himself is a repetitive presence, dancing alongside digital avatars. Cyborgs and cowboys fly on mythological creatures-turned-machines; biomorphic whips and geometric architectures swell and shift; leather-clad performers and muses move ritualistically to Satterwhite’s choreography throughout. These animated realities are interspersed with real-life footage of floods and fires decimating various landscapes.
Inspired by early 90s digital media like Final Fantasy and Daft Punk’s animated album-length film Interstella 5555, the dancing bodies in Birds in Paradise are arrayed across a giant coliseum. Satterwhite likens the archetypal 360° viewing experience to virtual reality. He relates this spectacle—an arena in which performed identities gestate and transform—to the industry of self-mythologizing pop stars, who commercialize an all-encompassing visual identity. Positioning himself as such a figure, Satterwhite creates his own rendition of a Tower Records store, complete with virtual reality listening stations. It sells branded merchandise and editions of Love will find a way home by PAT. For the album, the duo remixed and manipulated Satterwhite’s mother Patricia’s a cappella voice—which sings about gestation, birth and redemption—over propulsive, electronic dance tracks.
In 2008, Satterwhite began collaborating with Patricia by incorporating her art practice with his own, using both her voice and line drawings of home goods created for her dream product line on the QVC shopping channel. Patricia left these, which function like blueprints for theoretical worlds and alternate realities, alongside multiple cassette tapes in the care of her son after she passed away in 2016, having spent much of her life suffering from schizophrenia. These materials stand alone as an adjacent presentation within You’re at home. While Patricia’s work in Birds in Paradise is so altered as to be nearly unidentifiable, her disembodied presence nonetheless creates a thread of continuity.