March 26 – May 12, 2021
Roll Up Project is pleased to present multimedia works by Renetta Sitoy. Through animation, sculpture, and works on paper, Sitoy tells stories that reflect on contemporary culture and her experiences as a Filipino American.
Sitoy’s digital animation, City Arcade Redux (2020), is on display in the Harrison Street window. Sitoy explores the energy of cities she has inhabited, including Oakland, Boston, and New York, using a mix of imagery and abstraction. A piece of bacon flies through the streets, past familiar sights like the Tribune Tower and city buses. Pixels dance across the screen in gridded formations, exuding both the joy of arcade games and the fast pace of urban life. At the end, radiating rays of color fill the screen and interlock with the floating bacon.
Arcade games operate on a premise of finite goals and the infinite potential for success, all presented in a dazzling, candy-hued composition. In contemporary life, where there are so many unknowns to contend with, those are thrilling prospects.
The imagery in City Arcade Redux also brings to mind early computer screen savers such as the beloved “flying toasters” pattern, where winged toasters and stray pieces of toast flock across screens in diagonal patterns, and “after dark,” where white pixels slowly fill the screen to form a dazzling high-rise cityscape. The imagery from screen savers and arcade games are deeply embedded in the modern human experience. Shapes, sounds, and movements become so internalized that single sound elicits a specific memory of the past. The sounds featured in City Arcade Redux include quacking ducks, electronic horns and keyboards, and spaceships firing missiles, along with a range of blips and tones that form an energetic soundtrack.
In the Third Street windows, animations transform into three-dimensional sculptures. Sitoy’s installation, The Snack Thief (2020) includes several cartoon-style monsters and oversized desserts. The forms are based on Sitoy’s Small Fry stuffed toys, which include miniature stuffed cats, dogs, and monsters. In scaling up to human-size, the sculptures shifted from toys to substantial figures that meet the viewer’s gaze. Despite their little frowns, their stubby arms stretch out toward the viewer in a gesture of openness. In a year where comfort is in greater demand than ever, and where hugs may be in short supply, these monsters seem welcoming and heartfelt.
About the Artist
Renetta Sitoy is a multimedia artist who was born in New York, NY. She studied English at Boston University and holds an MFA in Design + Technology from the San Francisco Art Institute, where she was the recipient of the San Francisco Art Institute MFA Fellowship from 2005 to 2007. Informed by her experiences as a first generation Filipino American and a culture steeped in tales of the supernatural, her practice is a continuation of this art of storytelling. Her videos and installations explore the search for self and identity, influenced by media, technology, and the (in)accuracy of memory. Her work has been shown in Atlanta, Baltimore, New York City, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Bulgaria, Hungary, Greece, Russia, and throughout the Bay Area. She has lectured throughout Northern California and was awarded a residency at the Philadelphia Art Hotel in 2009. She received an Individual Artist Grant from the City of Oakland Cultural Funding Program for 2012-2013 and again for the years 2015-2016. She lives and works in Oakland, California.
Learn more about Renetta Sitoy’s work here.