A programme curated by Alison Nguyen
A screening series of film and video artists who employ modes of appropriation, dematerialization, and electronic signal manipulation in their moving image works. These pieces subvert the visual codes of mass media, repositioning material such as commercials, pornography, and Hollywood films. In burning contemporary archives, these artists create new texts that challenge our way of seeing dominant social constructs.
Artists: Ololade Adeniyi, Peggy Ahwesh, Bradley Eros, LJ Frezza, Sarah Halpern, Scott Kiernan, Antonia Kuo, Josh Lewis, Alison Nguyen, Sabrina Ratte, MM Serra, Lily Jue Sheng, Soda_Jerk.
- burn (or the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics) (Bradley Eros,video, originally super-8mm in a 16mm projector, found-footage hand-manipulated in the gate, color, sound, 5 minutes 15 seconds, 2004)
The work uses a short strip of super-8 footage of 1970s bondage porn pulled through the projector gate and burned frame-by-frame, in a live performance. It derives from a program of “intentional accidents” called “Mistakes (everything you can do wrong)” at the notorious Robert Beck Memorial Cinema, in which failure was attempted with each projection act. A soundtrack fragment of Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, with Robert DeNiro’s methodical rant and Bernard Herrmann’s haunting score, seeps beneath the disintegrating images, signaling the sleazy milieu of Times Square. Here the fragility of the plastic material is both magnified and transformed, serving as a physical fact of film and a brutal metaphor. Meanwhile, energy is expelled through the process of heat, and liberation is attempted through an act of destruction. (The 2nd law of thermodynamics concerns the phenomena of energy loss through heat transference.) In melting, the image becomes temporarily alive and strangely beautiful.
- Escales (Sabrina Ratté, HD video, color, sound, 6'38", 2015-2016)
“Escales” is the result of the manipulation of electronic signals using digital means. Electricity, as raw material, is being sculpted, transformed and altered to be reborn as architecture. The video depicts an immersive environment where the hallucinated spaces unfurl like automated mirages, and invites the viewers to project themselves inside this ever evolving space, continuously transforming and morphing into new environments.
By its minimal aspect, “Escales” is a neutral space, without any specific identity. Once a number of layers and visual distortions are added, the architecture comes alive. “Escales” manifests the hallucinations and the interferences between what is considered as “objective reality” and the subjective interpretation of it.
- The Neutral Zone (LJ Frezza, video, color, sound, 4'54", 2015)
The utopias of Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994). One day, technology will let us all live the lives we've always wanted.
- Eden 2.0 (Intro, Ep. 1) (Ololade Adeniyi, singla channel video, sound, 3'06", 2017)
‘Eden 2.0’ is an episodic collection of mock surveillance videos that foresee utopia becoming overshadowed by the remnant fragments of the past world. The videos examine a fourth dimension of the battle between propaganda and technology. With hypnotic looping, undulating and cascading scenes, they directly confront the blurred relationship between reality and fantasy; ultimately questioning whether our perception of the future could ultimately be influenced by the same machines we used for repression.
- you can’t plan a perfect day sometimes it just happens (Alison Nguyen, video, sound, 8'24", 2017)
A collage of blown-out, appropriated footage of lens flare from contemporary American advertisements. The piece is a critique of and meditation on visual codes for authenticity and spirituality used in white-dominated mass media.
- Point, Line, Plane (Lily Jue Sheng y Antonia Kuo, 16mm, b&w, double projection (single screen view), sound, 11'04", 2015)
‘Point, Line, Plane’ is an expanded cinema work that pairs positive and negative photograms; cameraless images are achieved through the direct application and exposure of semi-transparent objects onto raw stock. The original film escalates into a hypnotic arrangement with optical sounds generated by the images overlapping onto the 16mm soundtrack area. Live performances feature fluorescent color gel presentations by Lily Jue Sheng and Antonia Kuo.
- Beirut Outtakes (Peggy Ahwesh, video, color, sound, 8', 2007)Mr. Salloum found a cache of deteriorating commercial film reels, trailers and commercials in an abandoned theater in Beirut in the 1980's. Many years later, inspired by the material as a historical marker of popular media culture during the era of the civil war and a document of western Orientalism, Ms. Ahwesh edited some of the fragments together. Beirut Outtakes is a small tribute to endurance, the history of decay and an examination of the export of American product. A true time machine with an eloquent montage of old Lebanese dramas and western action films.
Ed Halter writes in the Village Voice: "Outtakes appears to be a ready-made, albeit one tailor-made for Ahwesh's career obsessions, pre-filled with her signature elements: gleeful disruptions of high and low, affection for decayed textures, a peeping eye for lurid sexuality, and a fascination with unlikely images of the Middle East. Just one sequence of a go-go-booted belly dancer wriggling in an Arabic-language cinema advertisement for home air conditioners alone has the power to shatter more stereotypes than 500 pages of Edward Said."
- Enduring Ornament (Josh Lewis y MM Serra, 16mm film with chemical applications, sound, 15', 2015)
In late 2004, MM Serra discovered a box of short 16mm nudie films sitting outside of a closing adult bookstore on 42nd Street. These films, created cheaply in the 1940’s for use in coin-operated peepshow booths are final remnants of Manhattan’s disappearing sex district. A decade later, Josh Lewis was driving a cube truck back from Cleveland to New York with a salvaged contact printer, itself a discard from film’s waning material dependence. These two acts of reclamation prompted a collaboration between the two, beginning a year-long process of duplicating, reprinting and chemically altering the films into various states of abstraction. Threaded throughout the film is the exuberant compound word poetry of Baroness Elsa von Freytag Loringhoven, giving voice to an immediate and transgressive consciousness.
- Palaces (Sarah Halpern, hand processed 16mm to digital video, color, silent, 3', 2015)
The two lovers chase each other through a seemingly infinite series of hallways and doors, within an abandoned palace. The frames of the doorways rhyme with the frame of a laptop screen, superimposed on some of the shots. The laptop is meant to introduce the idea of transition; we see old things (decaying palaces and 19th century clothing) juxtaposed with a very new thing (the laptop). Meanwhile doors and hallways themselves also represent transition. The lovers chase and hide from each other in a playful way, but it is also suggested here that they are trying to find or evade one another in the sense of actual personal understanding of one another. As one looks for the other, they are trying to get to know the other, to find them in the deeper sense. Meanwhile they each seem to be getting lost. The doors, hallways and laptop screen are all meant to give the viewer the sense of moving inward- into the door, into the hallway, deeper into the palace, and also into the frame of the digital screen in which distances are no longer relative to the physical world. This is meant to symbolize the transitional, inward process of getting to know another person and meanwhile getting to know oneself.
- Syntax Workers (Cues) (Scott Kiernan, analog video converted to digital,color, sound, 2'45", 2016 - 2017)
Behind-the scenes production commands take center stage through a series of analog video animations. The phrases themselves anthropomorphize inside a video space of sound, shadow, and process.
- Astro Black: Armageddon in Effect (Soda_Jerk, digital video, color, sound, 6'35", 2008)Titled after Sun Ra’s 1972 album, Astro Black is an ongoing multi-channel video cycle informed by cultural theories of Afrofuturism. Taking the cosmic jazz musician Sun Ra as a point of departure, this speculative history seeks to draw out the nexus of science fiction and social politics in Black Atlantic sonic culture.
Armageddon in Effect considers the politics implicit in Public Enemy's claim that we're already living Armageddon. The episode begins with the discovery of an ancient stone crosshairs at an archeological site in Egypt. Sixty years later a giant alien mothership emerges from a menacing cloud over New York City, hijacking President Ronald Reagan's TV statement in order to transmit a pirate broadcast from Chuck D, Flavor Flav and Sun Ra. Like Sun Ra's mantra that 'it's after the end of the world', Public Enemy invoke Armageddon to insist upon the critical moment in which we already live.
Sesión organizada por Crater Lab.
Ololade Adeniyi (b.1995) is a Nigerian-Australian new media artist. She holds a B.Arch (Honors) and a B.A in Illustration and Digital Media and works through an interdisciplinary practice of sculpture, installation, digital design and video. At its core, her work investigates urban landscapes and migration and the use of technology as a tool to reclaim space or redefine ownership
Peggy Ahwesh’s media projects have traversed a wide range of technologies and styles, forming the basis of her inquiry into feminism, cultural identity and genre. Ahwesh’s art practice insists on political and social topicality and theoretical rigor, while incorporating humor and the absurd in an open embrace of the inexplicable. Ahwesh is a tenured professor at Bard College. Recent exhibitions include: Two Serious Ladies (2015) Murray Guy, NYC; Plagiarist of My Unconscious Mind! (2015) Château Shatto, LA and is the Artist in Profile at the Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival (2017.)
Bradley Eros is an artist working in myriad media: experimental film & video, collage, photography, performance, sound, text, contracted and expanded cinema & installation.Also a maverick curator, composer, designer & investigator. Concepts include: ephemeral cinema, mediamystics, subterranean science, erotic psyche,cinema povera, poetic accidents, catalyst / critique, musique plastique, black hole cinema & narcolepsy cinema.
Exhibited at MoMA, PS1, The Kitchen, Performa09, The Whitney Museum's 2004 Biennial, The American Century, & the recent Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema and Art; The New York, London & Rotterdam Film Festivals; No.w.here in London, Lightcone in Paris, Arsenal in Berlin, Image Forum in Tokyo; Worked for many years with the New York Filmmakers’ Cooperative, Anthology Film Archives & co-directed the Robert Beck Memorial Cinema, and currently, Optipus (expanded cinema group). Represented by Microscope Gallery.
LJ Frezza is an artist and filmmaker working at the intersections of media and everyday experience. He lives in New York City, where we works as a video editor and film programmer.
Sarah Halpern works with film, performance, sound, text and paper, addressing the difficulties in understanding oneself and other people. Her work questions conventional human relationships to vision, hearing, reading and communicating and has been presented at The Kitchen, Experimental Intermedia, The Museum of Moving Image, Anthology Film Archives, and Microscope Gallery, among others. She is a founding member of Optipus Film Group (with Lary 7, Bradley Eros and others) and has collaborated extensively with electronic musician Matt Wellins. She is represented by Microscope Gallery. Halpern lives and works in Queens, NY.
Scott Kiernan is a multi-disciplinary artist living and working in New York City. His work seeks alternate readings implicit in images and the technologies employed for their production. In his video, photo and installation works, electronically synthesized and photographic elements interact to address their own (im)materiality and means of distribution. He is particularly interested in how meaning morphs through translation via technology, speech and syntax.
Kiernan was founder and co-director of Louis V E.S.P., an artist-run gallery and performance space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (2010-2012) and of E.S.P. TV (2011-present), a nomadic TV studio that explores televisual language and develops artist collaborations for broadcast. He currently is also co-director of UNIT 11, a transmission based residency program which operates from a former ENG van turned mobile electronic studio.
He has exhibited and performed internationally in venues such as New Museum, Museum of Arts and Design, Swiss Institute/Contemporary Art, Storefront for Art and Architecture, Whitney Museum of American Art, Harvard Art Museums, P.S.122, Mixed Greens, Ballroom Marfa, Southern Exposure, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and the Center for International Contemporary Art in Rome; and teaches in Hunter College's Integrated Media Arts MFA program.
Antonia Kuo (b. 1987, New York, NY) is an interdisciplinary artist working with photography, film, sculpture, drawing, painting and printmaking. She is currently an MFA candidate in Painting at Yale University and received her BFA from School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and Tufts University, and a one-year certificate from the School of the International Center of Photography under the Alan L. Model Grant. Antonia was awarded the Robert and Stephanie Olmsted Award as a MacDowell Colony Fellow in 2014, as well as fellowships at The Banff Centre, Center for Photography at Woodstock, The Vermont Studio Center and Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto. Her work has been shown internationally and is in private collections and The Whitney Museum of American Art.
Josh Lewis is an artist and filmmaker working at a fluid intersection between abstraction, documentary, and narrative forms. Coming from a background of work in photochemical film processing labs, Lewis’s handmade films explore the boundaries of manual knowledge, bodily struggle, and the persisting enigma of material potential. Josh is a lab technician and founder of the artist-run film lab Negativland in New York City.
Alison Nguyen is a New York-based artist and curator working in film, video, photography, and installation. She uses these forms to raise questions about the circulation of images and the cultural surrounding. Often integrating appropriated footage from mass media, Nguyen investigates systems of control found within the visual codes of this material.
Alison Nguyen (b. 1986) graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in Literary Arts. Selected screenings and exhibitions include: The Whitney Museum, The Parrish Museum, and Mana Contemporary (in collaboration with expanded cinema group, Optipus), Microscope Gallery, Outpost Artists, Traverse Film Festival, Transient Visions Festival of the Moving Image, Palace Film Festival, The Manhattan Independent Film Festival, Satellite Miami, and BOSI Contemporary. She has received awards and residencies from NYSCA, Signal Culture, BRIC, Vermont Studio Center, and Brown University.
Sabrina Ratté lives and work between Montreal and Paris. After a BFA and MFA in Film Production at Concordia University in Montreal, she focused on video as a medium. Her interest in early video art led her to work with analog technologies such as video synthesizers and video feedback. Later on, she integrated 3D animation to her process, which allowed for more complexe imageries while creating a timeless aesthetic. From utopian architecture to painterly textures, she investigates the ambiguous line between the virtual and the physical realm. Her work includes single-channel videos, installations, sculptures, live performances and prints.
Previous exhibitions: Dolby Gallery (San Francisco), Young Project Gallery (Los Angeles), Whitney Museum of Art (NYC), Variation Media Art Fair (Paris), Chronus Art Center, (Shanghai), Paddles On! 1st Digital Art Auction at Phillips (New York), HEK (Basel), EMPAC (Troy), Museum of the Moving Image (New York), International Digital Arts Biennal - Bian (Montreal), PHI Center (Montreal), Arsenal (Mtl), the Lampo series (Chicago), Atonal Festival (Berlin), Elektra, MUTEK (Mtl, Mexico, Barcelona). She is represented by the Laffy Maffei Gallery in Paris.
MM Serra is an experimental filmmaker, curator, author, and the Executive Director of Film-Makers' Cooperative, the world's oldest and largest archive of independent media. On June 6th, 2013, MM Serra was a recipient of the Kathy Acker Award for Lifetime Achievement of Excellence in Avant-Garde Art.
Lily Jue Sheng makes moving image-based work with film, video, multi-projection performance, installation, and 2D mixed media. She graduated from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA, and is currently based in Brooklyn, NY. She exhibits in a wide range of contexts such as museums, galleries, universities, film festivals, cinematheques, performance venues, large-scale building projections, electronic billboards, and other unique spaces. Her work has screened at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Parrish Art Museum, Eyebeam, Mono No Aware, Microscope Gallery, Pioneer Works, and the Knockdown Center in New York; the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston; the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal in Montreal; the 1933 Slaughterhouse (老场坊) and West Bund Art & Design Fair in Shanghai; y 3331 Arts Chiyoda en Tokyo.
Soda_Jerk is a 2-person art collective formed in Sidney in 2002 that approaches sampling as a form of rogue historiography. Working at the intersection of documentary and speculative fiction, their archival practice takes the form of films, video installations, cut-up texts and lecture performances. Based in New York since 2012, they have exhibited in museums, festivals, cinemas and torrent sites.