This solo exhibition of work by Michael Stevenson was produced for the Panama Biennial in 2008. A video work is projected in the upstairs gallery space. The video presents a bird’s eye view of bundles of cards being sorted and dealt placed face-down concealing them in order to begin the playing of a game. A Spanish female voice-over narrates extracts from political biographies and other sources that provide details of encounters between Panama’s military leader, the exiled Shah of Iran and the U.S President Jimmy Carter during the late 1970’s, on the Island of Contadora, off the coast of Panama City. The individual’s are negotiating the treaty to hand back the Canal Zone to Panama.
The Spanish voice is translated into English subtitles. As these ‘interrelated histories are recounted’ the viewer is introduced to a series of mathematical probabilities demonstrated through the shuffling and dealing of the playing cards. The ‘probability of an event occuring’ and the likely outcomes are ‘expressed in mathematical equations’ according to the narrator. These personal histories are fragmented but ‘relative’ to the visual imagery which Michael Stevenson pieces together. In addition to the video, the artist produced a series of photographic works which presented additional research material for the project.