Energy of delusion - Videos by Keith Sanborn

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Energy of delusion - Videos by Keith Sanborn
Saturday October 9, 19h
Microscope Gallery
4 Charles Place, Brooklyn NY, 11221, USA

New York based media artist and theorist Keith Sanborn joins us at MICROSCOPE Gallery on October 9th 7PM for a rich program of his radical video works. Keith Sanborn’s work has been included in major survey exhibitions such as the Whitney Biennial, the American Century, and Monter/Sampler and festivals such as OVNI (Barcelona), The Rotterdam International Film Festival, Hong Kong Videotage, and Ostranenie (Dessau). His theoretical work has appeared in a range of publications from journals such as Artforum and books, such as Kunst nach Ground Zero to exhibition catalogues published by MOMA (New York), Exit Art, and the San Francisco Cinematheque. He has translated into English the work of Guy Debord, René Viénet, Gil Wolman, Georges Bataille, Napoleon, Paolo Gioli, Berthold Brecht, Lev Kuleshov and Esther Shub among others. He has also acted as an independent curator, working with such institutions as the Oberhausen Short Film Festival, Exit Art, Artists Space, the Pacific Film Archive.


- Semi-Private sub-Hegelian Panty Fantasy (with sound) (2001, 4', b/w & col, and color, video)
A philosophical dream narrative, structured around conceptions and representations of the reversibility and irreversibility of time and desire. The title is more or less exact. Several layers of Freudian fun, from exploding/imploding houses, to collapsing walls that re-erect themselves, to the dead Lenin, lying for his film portrait. As a Lacanian once said: he does not have the phallus: he is the phallus. Historical psychological fun for the whole family. “Everyone over ninety in the company of both parents admitted free.” (Source Material: from various films. I am responsible for everything else, i.e. digital effects, editing etc.)

- Suffering (2010, 11’17?,  col, sound, video)
Suffering is a single take shot with an iPhone. It is a conversation between my father, who is cleaning a fish, and myself. The conversation ranges from the techniques of cleaning fish to the consciousness of pain of the fish as he undergoes dismemberment. What is the relationship between mind and body, father and son, other minds. What are the possibilities for empathy? An unflinching look at the everyday. Bataille comes to mind.

- Energy of Delusion (2010, 20', col, sound, video)
This work takes its title from Lev Tol’stoy’s description of the creative process, which became the title of a book by Viktor Shklovsky. It presents a highly subjective and compressed museum of cinema, including the most notoriously engaging, difficult, and lengthy works in history, each reduced to one minute. With their luxuriant titles, each element doubles in size. The titles of the elements encrypt the titles of the original films and the compression necessary to reduce them to a minute. The work varies from 1 to 50 elements. This version has 11 movie elements and 2 text elements.

- Operation Double Trouble (2003, 10', col, sound, video)
A detourned version of a propaganda film jointly produced by the US Marine Corps and the US Navy which was brought to my attention by Peggy Ahwesh. I downloaded the original from a military website, converted it to dv codec then reworked it. The original was intended to give the military “a human face.” This version is intended to expose the manipulations of the original at a critical moment in the historical evolution of the role of the US military in US politics. Titles were added at the head and tail and each shot is seen exactly twice. The effect produced is reminiscent of the experience of making a long distance phone call where by accident every word you say is echoed after a short delay. It’s what I call Brechtian hiccoughs. This work is dedicated to Len Lye (sometimes purported maker of Lambeth Walk, Nazi style) and Les LeVeque (maker of Backwards Birth of a Nation among others). As von Clausewitz says, “War is the continuation of Politics by other means.” This work is intended to inflect the history of information warfare.
(Source material from US Military. I am responsible for everything else, i.e. digital effects, editing etc.)

- V2N (2004, 11', b/w, sound, video)
V2N attempts to turn portraiture into intellectual history. It employs a parallel between visual morphing and transformative spatial structuring of sound. The result of this experiment is a paradoxical experience: the viewer realizes something is happening, but can’t quite track it on an experiential level because it is happening so slowly, like a natural process. Similarly, the ultra-low frequencies and structured static of the sound track resist both chronological narrative and spatial localization. This glacially slow approach runs counter to current trends in media which seek to maximize speed, to overpower consciousness. To what end? My aim is to create a space for self-reflection. Since Virilio is the prophet of speed, technology and war, this slow disorientation seemed appropriate for connecting him to the person with whom he seems already to have merged.
(Source Material: book jacket and reproduction of Ingres’s coronation portrait of Napoleon.)

- Project for A New American Century, or Writing and the Art of Persecution (2007, 25’37?, b/w, silent, video)
This video explores and attempts to unmask the intellectual strategies of University of Chicago philosopher Leo Strauss, that have gained such influence among members of the Bush administration and its supporters. These strategies constitute a kind of debased hermeneutics, that creates esoteric and exoteric constructions of texts and events. They have been used to justify duplicity as a matter of policy and torture as a way of enforcing adminstration views.