Kerry Tribe "Milton Torres Sees a Ghost" - Art Scene (March 2011)
“Milton Torres Sees a Ghost” employs a minimal set of found objects to tell the story of retired American fighter pilot Milton Torres. In it Kerry Tribe constructs an imagined scenario based on a 1957 reported UFO sighting. Copies of classified documents addressed to the military from July 21, 1988 are framed individually along a bare wall. The name is purposefully crossed out to protect the identity of the witness who has testified about a “bogus” radar blip that he encountered while in flight. A reel-to-reel tape deck positioned on a large wooden counter across from the classified documents hisses as it churns out tape. The tape has been pulled from the machine and runs along the wall to the adjacent gallery, while the tape from another reel-to-reel runs from the back gallery to the front. The result is two audio stations linked by tape measuring 150 feet running along the walls from gallery to gallery. Audio waves can be read from the tape as it travels back and forth between the corresponding tape decks. Positioned next to the tape deck is an oscilloscope that visualizes waveforms. In the first gallery a slow moving series of lines tracks an object which then quickly disappears. This would be the radar “blip” discussed in the documents. The second oscilloscope plays Torres’ testimony, which explains that the “blip” looked like an aircraft carrier or UFO burning a hole in the radar, quickly disappearing and going off the radar. The evidence for Torres’ account seems substantial. We can see the activity from the reel-to-reel players, visualize the soundtrack of his story and even see the radar screen. The “blip” that occurs, however, is the lag between beginning and end of Torres’ story as the space between is characterized by the churning of machines and a flat line on the oscilloscope.