P3 Studio is situated in the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, and is a studio dedicated to showcasing artists from around the world that create interactive artworks, as part of their ongoing residency program. Started as an initiative, in collaboration with the not-for-profit Art Production Fund, the space consists of glass windows and white walls. So, naturally, Shantell was asked to be the resident artist for four weeks in the fall of 2015. There, she worked on her Record + Play installation, a play on finding your way.
The installation itself had a couple of layers. The first layer was WHO ARE YOU? where Shantell asked people their names so she could write them out on a wall. In another section, she captured people’s portraits via polaroid, for instantaneous tangibility. As the third layer, a live feed (in a black and white output) displayed participants being prompted by questions of self: Who are you//You are you. This layer being a representation of how we are as humans: how we look, our expressions that are captured, and how we are seen; our resonating visages on the outside.
In one beautiful space, Shantell asked her participants to draw her, as she drew them, probing people to surrender to their arbitrary constraints of “artistic ability.” In a final, and cathartic demonstration, she asked her participants to Leave It Behind where people could leave anything that they wished to relinquish. Whether it was a metrocard, dog collar, or a letter to a friend who had died—Shantell asked for a vulnerability and intimacy to one’s self first and foremost in this final act of the installation.
Her whole approach was hinged on: “When we’re faced with this question of our core—we all struggle.” Being with oneself, especially in safe environments, is a powerful tool of fulfilment, and a sometimes curious effect of art.