Dinner for Two | Rachel Lee Hovnanian

Dinner for Two | Rachel Lee Hovnanian

First thing you notice about the mixed media piece, Dinner for Two, is the absence of bodies in the chairs set on either ends of this beautiful table arrangement. There are virtual people in the chairs but no actual physicality – which sort of sets the tone for the piece.

There are however, two LCD screens attached to each chair, playing a looped performance of a couple whose eyes never meet. 

Dinner for Two | Rachel Lee Hovnanian

Dinner for Two | Rachel Lee Hovnanian

The couple is constantly looking away from one another – never really making eye contact with one another, instead they’re seen glancing down into their laps. All the while, in the middle of the table a holographic white mouse is unsuspectingly nibbling away on a white tiered wedding cake. The story the pictures of the installation can’t tell is that during the video loop you can hear a constant barrage of familiar sounds: an angry birds game gearing up, a text message coming through, emails being delivered.

 

Dinner for Two | Rachel Lee Hovnanian

This was one of the more interesting pieces at this year’s Armory Show. At any given time, there were crowds of people standing around it, speculating on what story was being played out. Even the artist dropped by, slyly standing off to the side, listening to the conversations. 

By far, most explanations had the same vibe…by in large, society has been altered dramatically by the surge of technology – its cost can be seen through the couple and their lack of interaction with one another. The couple being placed at the table can represent the change in our traditional values, such as, the simple yet valuable act of families eating at the table and discussing their day being interrupted by our need to constantly clock in with some form of social media. We socialize through these faceless forms of communication, be it, email, video games, apps, etc… and hence lose the ability to harness the means of traditional forms of communication – actual face-to-face communication.

The wedding cake could symbolize a new relationship, that sweet spot “marriage”, when you’re fresh and in tune with one another, looking forward to spending the future together. But a look at how they’re not utilizing the time is made significant by the mouse eating away at the cake, or at their relationship little by little.

But that’s our perception…what’s yours?