Teiji Furuhashi's "Lovers," an immersive video installation now on show at MoMA, the phrase "DO NOT CROSS THE LINE" flashes across a screen. It is essentially a dictate to the video's characters: The many naked lovers who run or walk past one another throughout the duration of the piece are never allowed a real interaction; an invisible line always remains. We, in fact, are to blame: Our movement through the gallery triggers sensors that reset the videos, continually pushing back the possibility of the lovers' meeting. Is our meddling simply inadvertent? Or are we actively disruptive? Sometimes complicity and activity are one and the same, and the work forces that realization through the gallery doors. In 1995, a year after he made this installation, Furuhashi died of AIDS-related complications. Wasn't our complicity in the wake of the AIDS crisis tantamount to a conscious moral failure?
Installation view © The Museum of Modern Art / 2016. Photograph by Jonathan Muzikar.