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Na Ja

Single channel video and sound – 48 min

Exhibited at Meyer Riegger Gallery, Berlin 2021, Galerie Michéle Didier, Paris 2022
Soundtrack in homage to Joseph Beuys’ 1968 sound work Ja Ja Ja Ne Ne Ne

Re-interpreted and performed by Leigh Ledare and Paul McCarthy with Melinda Ring and Sarah Johnson, incorporating archival recording of the Beuys recording

NA JA (filmed in and around New York’s Penn Station during the pandemic summer of 2020) confronts us with an iteration of our world where assumptions about mobility have been retracted, a city where those with the privilege to leave have left, and those who have been left behind are reduced to a state of complete immobility. Already depicting advertisements for the arrival of a new station complex, these scenes are destined to be replaced. The new station will cater to the consumer, will be sanitized and policed, chaos having conjured control. In the interim, the city appears as a stage, the removal of commuters throwing into relief what remains – a theater populated by ungovernable parts of ourselves, aspects which, as a collective social body, we almost can’t bear to see.

Bodies circling from station to station within the station. Bodies standing, lying, clothed or unclothed. Bodies which, relegated from the center to the periphery, and from the public to the private, are either desired or desperately avoided. Bodies which, forced to live out their private experience in public, implicate us. Despite our desires to freeze time, one only has to look into the mirror to understand how absolutely futile that is.

— Leigh Ledare (March 24, 2022)

© 2021 Leigh Ledare

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