SCAD Museum of Art's installation "On View" by power couple: Ania Catherine and Dejha Ti

by Paulette Ely

In a society of selfies, what has art come to? LGBT power couple Ania Catherine and Dejha Ti showcase just that at their new SCAD Museum Of Art installation, “On View.”

The two are not only a professional power duo, but have a romantic relationship that is rooted in all things art.

“Really modern romance, we first met on instagram.” says Ania. “It was kind of fanning over each other work. Dejha at the time was doing a lot of immersive and projection work, and I was doing mostly performance and choreography, and we just slid into the DM’s for a creative collaboration… We immediately were just back and forth with ‘you have to see this’ so it was just immediate creative bombs going off. Then, Dejha was like ‘Im going to cook you dinner.’ I was like ‘Wait, we’re on a date?’  And here we are, married and still making art together.”

Photo by  Djeneba Aduayom

“It also allows for ongoing R&D,” Dejha adds about their collaborative relationship. “You know, eating eggs, drinking coffee, on our way into the shower, in the shower- everything is research and development. From that standpoint, our art vocabulary has gotten very much in sync”. 

Their installation, “On View” is a deep look into the simulated nature of social media society. The message of this installation is really thinking about the creation of a lifestyle in which people are seeing oneself “on view” rather than seeing the art that is truly on view. 

“First thing, if we just talk about the choreography of how people go and experience art, traditionally there has been an audience member and their body is facing the work and they are looking at the work,” Ania says to explain the installation’s purpose. “And then very soon after, that choreography has turned into facing the work and holding our phones up and looking at the work through my phone. And then, we also see the choreography more often where your back is facing the work and your face is looking at a phone that is photographing you in front of the work. Its a very interesting evolution that we were played into. Even as artists on social media, we’ll scroll past an exhibit and say ‘Oh did you see that exhibit?’ Then its like ‘yeah I saw it!’ But what does that mean at this point?” 

Photo by  Djeneba Aduayom

With such strong societal implications, “On View” stretches beyond symbolism. I asked the couple how they thought “On View” can help or heal our progressive yet judgmental society.

“We went back and forth about what the position of On view is. Is it a judgment piece? Is it here to say everyone needs to stop using their phones?” Ania and Dejha explained.  “We were more interested in making this a mirror to where we are right now and playing with scale. For example, the first room is the Terms and Conditions room. This is something that we have to do all the time. Every day multiple times a day we check a little box saying “I agree.” And we don’t think about that at all. When you do click a terms of use you should know that someone is going to take something from you in that moment, but you usually don’t register that. So we kind of just wanted to take what it is, blow it up, and make it a hyperbolic version of itself.”

Photo by  Djeneba Aduayom

“We didn’t design a creepy experience, whats going on is creepy and were just putting it on display and you're really feeling it because you're inside the world rather than engaging with it without consciousness.” Ania said. “The experience of On View also parallels our experience of how we engage with social media. The first thing that you need to do is click terms and conditions which is a near necessity in order to function in modern society. You need to forfeit this data about yourself that you’re giving to the system, whether it be your content or your information about yourself as your “Data double” or “Data body.” Also the fact that On View does not work without human energy being put into it. Essentially, the installation does nothing without an audience as subject. In the same way as social media doesn't work without people populating. Theres a lot of parallel.”

Dejha followed in saying, “Theres an absurd element to it, Ania and I have been calling it “an experiential black comedy.”

So, what’s next for the creatives and their collaborations?

“Definitely the experiential hospitality and night life is where we are going to. Like Studio 54 designed By Feminist Lesbians.”

Check out whats really “On View” at the SCAD Museum of Art in Savannah Georgia running from February 26th to August 25th. And make sure to follow Ania and Dejha’s journey together under their art and production house, Operator