One on One
From Tommelleo, Donna: Former UConn Players' Drills Become a Work of Art, Boston Globe, 27 November 2004:
As members of three straight NCAA championship teams, former Connecticut women's basketball players Morgan Valley and Maria Conlon are used to being watched.
They were just what nationally known video artist Janet Biggs was looking for to complete her newest work, "One-on-One," a piece that deals with the idea of spectatorship.
"I asked them to please be as aggressive as you can be," Biggs said. "They just stepped up to the task like no two players I have ever worked with."
The piece, a continuous loop of hoops with both women locked in a mesmerizing dance for control, opens its 17-day run Wednesday at UConn's Contemporary Art Galleries on the Storrs campus. Viewers enter a small, dark room and encounter larger-than-life images of Conlon and Valley in a one-on-one drill cast on double- sided screen. Conlon has the ball throughout the footage while Valley counters her every move, trying in vain to gain control.
Behind them is footage of an empty 10,000-seat Gampel Pavilion spinning wildly to the frenetic music of Brian Eno's "Third Uncle." For brief interludes, the music cuts out and the visitor hears nothing but the buzzing hum of the gym's fluorescent lights. The drill, meanwhile, never stops. "The main impulse to make this piece was about spectatorship and what it means for both the players and the spectators, and when it borders on voyeurism, where spectators' roles lie and when they step over them. Especially now when it just happened with spectators," Biggs said referring to the recent brawl between Detroit Pistons' fans and the Indiana Pacers.
Bigg's "One-on-One" is one in a series of pieces that use athletes. She has worked with members of the U.S. synchronized swimming teams, champion high school wrestlers in Georgia, wheel chair athletes and football players. An accomplished equestrian, the 45-year old New York City artist also has concentrated much of her work on horses, a four-legged study in power and control. "Horseback riding was my first experience with power," she said. "You may not be able to make other decisions in your life, but you can make 1,200 pounds go where ever you want it to go." For her latest piece, she specifically wanted to use members of UConn's 2004 national championship team.
"I wanted championship players because there's a level of commitment to the sport that borders on obsession and compulsion and that's important to the work and also because they're incredibly disciplined," Biggs said. Biggs filmed the players in the small gallery room for nearly an hour under the hot lights.
Click on images for larger views
Other detailed images:
All images, videos, and texts on this site are protected by
copyright and may not be reproduced without permission.