Video art from North America
Posted on 2012/04/11
Still from ”Water Rerouting Initiative” by Adam Frelin.
Video art from North America
curated by Paul Young
In GOD We Trust (2008) Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung
Audio by MR CLOAK AND DAGGER
5 mins HD 1080p30 video 16:9 and seven 40X72 inches digital prints on canvas.
A surreal digital collage mixing political references with art historical ideas.
Tin-Kun Hung is a master at mixing political ideas into painterly video works that operate on multiple levels. In this work he explores the mythical, sociopolitical and religious ideas that surrounded the election of Barrack Obama.
“In G.O.D. We Trust” remixes the political and economical hardships the US president Barrack Obama has to overcome within various religious contexts. In the series Obama reincarnates into seven different guises Jesus Christ, Buddha, Elegua, Lady of Guadalupe, Krishna, Mohammad and Abraham. Yet in each case, certain elements are substituted current political and economical images culled from pop culture. The result is a contemporary version of Dada collage, with radical juxtapositions and a seemingly endless array of references. The last section, for instance, is based on the Islamic story Isra and Mi’raj (Night Journey) from Qu’ran chapter 17, Obama as Muhammad is resting in Kaaba in Mecca with his body appropriate from Siyar-i Nabî. When the archangel Gabriel comes to him, and brings him the winged steed Hillary Clinton Buraq that wears the Iranian Pahlavi crown jewels and an Islam US flag. That leads to a journey full of Western and Middle Eastern iconography until finally Mohammad is destroyed by Israel. At that point Obama appears as Abraham wearing the Obi-Wan Kenobi costume from Star Wars. His beard is appropriated from Michelangelo‘s “Creation of the Sun and Moon” at Sistine Chapel. He is attempting to slam the basketball hoop. The backboard of the basketball board is a world map, being supported by “Tower of Babel”, a painting by Flemish painter Pieter Brueghel the Elder.
Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung was born in Hong Kong and is now living and working in New York. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Arts degree from San Francisco State University. His work has been exhibited at the New Museum, New York; Yerba Buena Center Of The Arts, San Francisco; Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley, California; Sundance Film Festival, Park City, Utah; Postmasters Gallery, New York; Cartwright Hall Art Gallery, Bradford, United Kingdom; Urbis, Manchester, United Kingdom; Hebbel Am Ufer theatre, Berlin, Germany and ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Denmark. He has received several awards throughout his career, including Tribeca Film Institute Media Arts Fellowships, the “VIPER International Award- Internet” in Switzerland and “Honorary Mention- Net Excellence” in the 2002 Prix Ars Electronica. His work has been reviewed in The New York Times, Art In America, The Village Voice, Libération, Le Monde, El Pais, Spiegel and La Repubblica among many others…. “I employ and remix images from popular culture, political figures and imagery found in cyberspace. Most of my social conscious artworks adopt the form of advertising in a reduction of contemporary events to a cartoon like mythology. Through various media I aim to explore the nature of digital communication while touching on issues such as identity, politics, sexuality and power. My media includes Hi-Definition video animation, video game, net.art, digital graphics and mixed-media installations.”
Water Rerouting Initiative (2001) Adam Frelin
5: 23 mins SD video 720p 16:10 aspect ratio
A sculptural approach to street art and graffiti.
Working across multiple disciplines New York’s Adam Frelin often uses film and video to explore various formalist ideas. His Water Rerouting Initiative (2001) is an attempt to create a physical, 3-dimensional parallel to street graffiti, yet without using paint. Throughout the film, the artist breaks into public without the owner’s knowledge or permission, and uses the toilets, wash basins and sinks to create sculptural objects. In the process, Frelin also makes references to well-known contemporary artworks by Marcel Duchamp, Bruce Nauman and more.
Adam Frelin (b.1973, Grove City, PA) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. From 2001-2004 he was a Visiting Assistant Professor at Webster University in St. Louis, MO, and since 2006 has held the position of Assistant Professor of Art at SUNY University at Albany in Albany, NY. He has shown at such venues as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Getty Research Institute; the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. Frelin has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, the Gateway Foundation, and College Art Association. He has attended numerous artist residencies such as Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, ME; MacDowell Colony, Peterborough, NH; Atlantic Center for the Arts, New Smyrna Beach, FL, and the Fine Arts Work Center, Provincetown, MA. Frelin has completed projects in Japan, Finland, Austria, Ukraine, and most recently India. He has had two books of photography published, and has had several public artworks commissioned. Frelin lives and works in Troy and Brooklyn, NY
EVERYTHING IS SACRED (2012) Cal Crawford
26 seconds HD video 1080p 16:9 aspect ratio
Totally unexpected, strange and even unsettling, this extremely short loop features a New York Taxi cab speeding through the city.
Cal Crawford is an emerging artist based in Los Angeles, where he shows with the Sister Gallery. His work spans installation, sculpture, sound works, performance, photography and video, which all share a common interest in the nature of perception, immersion and humor. EVERYTHINGISSACRED (2012) is part of an on-going series of short loops that are designed to explore the discrepancies between text-based meaning versus image-based meaning. In each case a specific phrase or word is placed within an optically complex setting, which in turn challenges the way the work is read. In the work included in the show the words ‘Everything Hates’ is doubled with the words ‘Everything is Sacred’ on a speeding New York Taxi cab
Born, San Diego, California and raised in New Brunswick, Canada, Cal Crawford received his Photography Diploma from the NSCC in Halifax, Canada, and his MFA from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. He has shown in dozens of solo and group shows at galleries and institutions alike, including: LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions), the Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Montrea, Canada; Midway Contemporary, Minneapolis, MN; Outpost for Contemporary Art, Los Angeles: Society for Art and Technology, Montreal, Canada; Musée d’art Contemporain de Montréal, Montreal, Canada. His published audio works include: Sitting on theories on the frontier on extension, CD, Squint fucker press, Montreal, Canada ; colorless in small amounts, 3″ CDR, Throat, Oakland, CA ; phonography.org 5, v/a CDR, and/OAR, Seattle, WA
King Kong and the End of the World (2006) Federico Solmi
4:28 mins SD video 4:3 aspect ratio
A hand-drawn animation recasting the story of King Kong with the artist himself, which leads to new personal and political readings.
Federico Solmi was born in Italy in 1973 and currently lives and works in New York. His exhibitions, which often combine articulate installations composed of different media such as video, drawings, mechanical sculptures and paintings, use bright colors and a satirical aesthetic to portray a dystopian vision of our present day society. Irreverent, surrealistic, and sexually explicit, the videos and the works by Federico Solmi are as he is: extravagant, rowdy and ironic. They are satires about the evilness and the vices that affect contemporary society and mankind, and in some cases that has led to persecution and very public controversies (his film Evil Empire, for example, was banned from his native Italy). The artist uses images culled from the video game industry, pop culture, and the Internet and collages them with a historical influence to produce original artworks about the seemingly disparate subject at hand.
In the year 2009, Federico Solmi was awarded by the Guggenheim Foundation of New York with the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship in the category Video & Audio.
Solmi’s videos will be featured in the upcoming 54 Venice Biennial. In addition his works has been included at the Site Santa Fe Biennal, 2010, an exhibition curated by Sarah Lewis and Daniel Belasco. His work has been exhibited in the following museums and Institutions for Contemporary art; Centre Pompidou, Paris, Reina Sofia National Museum, Madrid, Drawing Center, New York, LACDA, Los Angeles; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, CA2M Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo, Madrid, National Center for Contemporary Art, Moscow, Australian Center of Moving Images, Melbourne, Victoria Memorial Museum, Calcutta, India, Contemporary Art Center of Rouboix, Palazzo Delle Arti, Naples, Palazzo Delle Esposizioni, Rome, Italy.
YOUCOULDTELLBYTHEWAY (2012) Cal Crawford
26 seconds HD video 1080p 16:9 aspect ratio
Sugar Slim Says (2010) Lewis Klahr
8:13 mins HD video 16:9 aspect ratio
A touching and quiet cut-out animation by one of the masters of the genre.
New York’s Lewis Klahr, emerged in the early 1980s as a unique voice in the realm of experimental film, mostly through a particular use of cut-out animation and elliptical storytelling. Like many of his works, his Sugar Slim Says (2011) uses a highly impressionistic, subjective point of view to convey the internal struggles of a central character. ADD MORE DETAIL
Called the “reigning proponent of cut and paste” by critic J. Hoberman of the Village Voice, master collagist Lewis Klahr has been making films since 1977. He is known for his uniquely idiosyncratic experimental films and cutout animations which have been screened extensively in the United States and Europe. Klahr’s work is in the permanent collection of New York’s Museum of Modern Art and has been included in the Biennial Exhibition of the Whitney Musuem of American Art (1991 & 1995). His epic cutout animation The Pharaoh’s Belt received a special citation for experimental work from the National Society of Film Critics in 1994. Lulu was commissioned in 1996 by Copenhagen’s Gronnegards Theater for The Rotterdam Film festival commissioned Klahr to create Two Minutes to Zero for a series of 10 one minute films produced for the 2004 festival. Klahr premiered two new series at the 2004 Toronto and New York Film Festivals. Klahr has received extensive funding including a 1992 Guggenheim Fellowship. Commercially, he has created special effects and animation for television show openings, music videos, commercials, and a documentary. He created cutout animation for director Michael Almereyda’s Hamlet (2000). Since moving to Los Angeles in 1999, he has become involved with screenwriting and co-re-wrote The Mothman Prophecies for director Mark Pellington. The Lakeshore Entertainment film starring Richard Gere and Laura Linney was released in February 2002
Automatic (2009), William Lamson
8 mins HD video 16:9 aspect ratio
Performative actions that are in strict collaboration with natural forces.
With hints of Land Art, the momentary sculptures of Roman Signer and cinematic history, William Lamson’s performative, sculptural work continues to gain critical acclaim worldwide. His Automatic (2009) is a key work in the artist’s development. It features a number of experiments conducted by the artist over the course of a year. In each case, the artist let each individual location, which ranged from the coast of Chile to the open plains of the US, to determine the actual physical form that the work would take. In some cases it was the wind, in other cases it was the ocean, but in each case the natural forces that were found at the location inspired the artist to build specific hand-made contraptions (all made from found objects discovered at each location) that would ultimately define a new artistic process.
Born 1977 in Arlington, Virginia, William Lamson current lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. His is one of the most promising talents in the U.S. with an ever-growing number of solo shows to his credit. His work is steeped in minimalist aesthetics, with a strong reference to earth works and ecology. In many cases he sets up situations where natural forces ultimately “complete” the work itself. In some cases, the results are monumental, such as his recent effort “A Line Describing the Sun,” where the artist made a lens that produced a mammoth burn mark across the desert landscape. Lamson’s work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions and presentations at such venues as the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Indianapolis, IN; Kunsthalle Erfurt. Germany; Artspace, New Haven, CT.; Nieuwe Vide, Harleem, The Netherlands; Crawl Space. Seattle, WA; and the Stills Gallery. Sydney, Australia….
William Lamson is a Brooklyn based artist who works in video, photography, performance and sculpture. His work is in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston and a number of private collections. Since graduating from the Bard MFA program in 2006, his work has been shown at The Indianapolis Museum of Art, The Brooklyn Museum, P.S.1 MOMA, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Santa Fe, among others. Currently he is working on two installations for Storm King Art Center.
1967 (2012) Nadia Hironaka and Matthew Suib
Additional input by C Spencer Yeh & Aaron Moore. HD video with sound, performance, live teleconference.
8 mins HD video 16:9 aspect ratio
A complex, multilayered collage of ideas and images that are partly inspired by Jean-Luc Godard’s La Chinoise (1967)
Based in Philedelphia, Nadia Hironaka and Matthew Suib are part of a new generation of video artists who are constantly pushing the medium into new realms, whether it’s through new technologies or experimentation of form. Their “1967” revisits the spectacle and phantasmagoria of the 1967 International and Universal Exposition — more commonly known as Expo 67. Recast in the leading role is Veronique, the protagonist of La Chinoise — Godard’s 1967 rumination on Maoism and France’s New Left student movement. Intending to answer the New Left’s call for revolutionary action, Veronique heads for Montreal’s World Fair to challenge the Cultural Machine in a clash of utopian visions. Equal parts cinema, performance, text and teleconference, 1967 is a meditation on the role of the artist and the revolutionary relative to historical developments in global politics and media.
Beam Splitter (2011) Jimmy Joe Roche
2:15 mins HD video 16:9 aspect ratio
A very short, very intense psychedelic experience that references rock ‘n roll and formalist ideas alike.
Jimmy Joe Roche is an American Visual Artist residing in Baltimore, MD. He is also a member of the arts collective Wham City and explores a variety of mediums and platforms, including installation and performance. Much of his work is designed to parody pop-cultural conventions, such as television commercials, evangelist preachers, new age health trends, and rock ‘n roll. Beam Splitter (2011) is part of a series of works that use heavy metal rock music tropes to explore formalist ideas of surface and abstraction, negative fields and positive fields, and noise and signal.
His videos have screened internationally in venues including the Royal Academy of Arts in London, Boston Institute of Contemporary Art, J. Paul Getty Museum, Incubate Arts festival in Holland and Rojo@Nova 2010 in Brazil. In 2008 Roche had his first solo exhibition at Rare Gallery in New York, 2010 marked his second solo exhibition in Colorado at the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, and in January 2011, he opened his third solo exhibition, Under Pressure, at Rare Gallery. His work has appeared in numerous publications including Beautiful Decay, The New Museum’s ”Younger Than Jesus” Artist Directory, ”100″ a new book by Francesca Gavin published in 2011, and a feature article in the November 2011 issue of the Spanish Art Magazine BELIO. Roche is a recipient of the 2012 new work residency at \\ Harvestworks // in NYC and is preparing for a two man show with fellow artist Nathaniel Mellor at the Baltimore Museum of Art in the Summer of 2013.
Do You Love Me? (2003) Adam Leech
3:15 mins SD video 4:3 aspect ratio
A short clip from a longer looped work where where the artist first records the reactions to various people when asked the title question, and then records himself lip-synching their words in a studio later. The final video thus becomes a humorous yet insightful look at identity politics and the nature of video itself.
The main concerns of Adam Leech’s work are the semantics of voice versus speech and the political engineering of public space and community. This ranges from his portrait of gated communities in Florida to a sociological analysis of the immigrant population of Brussels, Illinois. Speech Bubble began as an investigation into the bankruptcy of the Belgian high-tech speech recognition company, Lernout & Hauspie. Like other multinational corporations, Lernout & Hauspie was a visionary company where money, techno-utopias and the cult of the entrepreneurial personality helped to create a now ubiquitous “market bubble” which, in 2001, would burst. In the case of Speech Bubble, Leech takes on the character of a pathologically optimistic salesman, among other characters, in dialogue with a mysterious client.
American- born and trained at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, as well as at Rijksakademie Amsterdam, Adam Leech is a painter and video artist now based in Brussels. Winner of the 2009 German Film Critics Association Award, KunstFilmBiennale Koln 2009, his videos have been shown at the Impakt Film and Video Festival, The Netherlands, Musee De L’Art Contemporian, Lyon, France; Platform Garanti, Istanbul, Turkey; STUK Arts Center, Leuven, Belgium; S.M.A.K., Gent, Belgium; The Swiss Institute, New York City; Manifesta 7, South Tyrol, Italy; TICAB Tirana International Contemporary Art Biannual, Tirana, Albania; Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden; Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen, Germany; Volta 6, Basel, Switzerland; The Armory Show, New York CIty
Hunger (2010) Jillian McDonald
6:27 mins HD video 16:9 aspect ratio
A different approach to found footage, where the artist inserts herself into scenes from the Twilight television series.
Canada’s Jillian McDonald has emerged over the past decade as one of the most exciting young artists of her generation. Her work often uses the tropes and themes culled from gothic, vampiric and romantic traditions, but entirely through a pop cultural lens. For Hunger, which was originally designed as a 3-chanel projection, the artist inserts her image digitally into TV and film scenes from Twilight (New Moon), True Blood, and Being Human. As the (replaced) ingénue hopeful of shared immortality, she is locked in endless staring contests with Edward, Bill, and Mitchell – the leading male vampires from these series who share brooding good looks, apparent youth, advanced vampire years, immortality’s curse, abstinence from blood and in some cases sex, and an ability to pass as mortal. These are the new breed vampires of our dreams – insatiable, beautiful, charming, yet dangerous. Separate hungers unite them with their mortal prey. Time is suspended in the staring contests where no one wins and no one loses.
Jillian McDonald is a Canadian artist, dividing her time between New York and Canada. She is an Associate Professor of Art at Pace University, where she also co-directs the Pace Digital Gallery. In 2007 she ran a marathon. In 2011 she became a mom. Some of her favorite people are strangers, and she watches an unhealthy amount of horror films. Recent solo shows and projects include Moti Hasson Gallery and Jack the Pelican Presents in New York; Third Avenue Gallery in Vancouver; The San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery and Rosenthal Gallery in San Francisco; Hallwalls in Buffalo; vertexList Gallery and ArtMoving Projects in Brooklyn; La Sala Narañja in Valencia, Spain; YYZ in Toronto; Video Pool in Winnipeg; and Edge Media in Newfoundland. Group exhibitions and festivals featuring her work include The Edith Russ Haus for Media Art in Oldenburg, Germany, The Krannert Museum in Illinois; MMOCA in Wisconsin, The Whitney Museum’s Artport, Year Zero One in Toronto, Manifestation d’Art Internationale de Québec, 404 International Festival of Electronic Art in Argentina, The Sundance Online Film Festival in Utah, The Cleveland International Performance Art Festival, La Biennale de Montréal, ISEA 2004 in Estonia, and the Centre d’Art Contemporain de Basse-Normandie in France.
Night of Pan (2010) Brian Butler
6:36 mins HD video 16:9 aspect ratio
Made in the spirit of Kenneth Anger’s black magic works of the in1960s, this short film features Anger himself, along with actor Vincent Gallo and musician Twiggy Ramirez. In the film, Anger, Gallo, and Butler depict a pagan ritual that symbolizes the stage of ego death in the process of spiritual attainment.
Having been the administrator for the legendary experimental filmmaker, Kenneth Anger, the artist and musician, Brian Butler, has always shared an interest in Anger’s occult films of the 1960s. For Butler, the occult and all its hidden meaning are far more interesting, strange, and dangerous than any of the cheap renditions found in pop culture today. And working in such traditions has a long (and very dark) history in Los Angeles, which Butler calls his home. The practice of magic has played an integral role in the city’s fringe culture, from Jack Parsons and Aleister Crowley to Kenneth Anger and Bobby Beausoleil. And by returning to such practices in his contemporary works, Butler is proving that the occult isn’t just a series of evolving traditions and lineages used by artists, but a visual language heavy with symbolism, rich with secret meanings and deeply profound. The rites of the occult are explicitly meant to communicate with the unseen, to reveal a world just beneath the surface of perceptible reality. Though its rituals may often differ from contemporary visual art, the purpose stated simply, to reveal the unseen and the often dark forces churning beneath the surface, the two may not be so different after all.
Brian Butler is an artist and musician living in Los Angeles. He has been included in: “Projections” curated By Aaron Rose at Roberts & Tilton, Los Angeles; “Bright Morning Star” curated by Natxo Checa at Galeria Zé dos Bois, Lisbon, Portugal; “Onedreamrush” at Today’s Art Museum, Beijing; and The 2nd Athens Biennale. His films have screened at the Tate Modern and the Cannes Film Festival. As a musician, he has recorded and or performed music with artists such as VON LMO, Rozz Williams (Christian Death), Hard Place, and Moving Units. He is currently a collaborator with Kenneth Anger in both Technicolor Skull as well as numerous film and exhibition projects. Butler’s recent writing has centered extensively on the occult, publishing in Disinformation’s Book of Lies as well as working on numerous documentaries and experimental films exploring the subject.
The Eternal Quarter Inch (2008) Jesse McLean
9:03 mins SD video 16:10 aspect ratio
A hypnotic film exploring some of the religious meetings that are common in America’s Bible-Belt.
Jesse McLean is an emerging artist who represents a new generation of artists who are based in the US Midwest. The Eternal Quarter Inch (2008) is one of her earlier efforts, which explores a distinctly American form of “bible-belt spirituality.” Throughout the film the artist attends religious events, which are designed to “release and cleanse” the participants from their sinful lives. While at the same time, she also uses camera effects to create a hypnotic visual style that conveys a similar experience to the viewer.
Born and based in Chicago, Jesse McLean uses film, video, photography and installation to explore the nature of human behavior and social relationships. Much of it uses found footage to not only pinpoint the influence of the media on unsuspecting subjects, but to explore the power—and failure—of the mediated experience. As she explains, “my recent work interpolates the production, proliferation, and consumption of televisual experience, investigating how this transfer of information creates a bind of complex relationships between maker and viewer, and emphasizes the blurry line between viewership and participation.”
Her work has been shown at the Front Room, Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis; the Moving image: Contemporary Video Art Fair, New York City; Experiments in Cinema, Albuquerque, New Mexico; and the Ann Arbor Film Festival.
Kool-Aid Man Interview in Second Life (2011) Jon Rafman
11:42 mins HD video 16:9 aspect ratio
A machinima performance featuring an animated character culled from American advertising commercials, walking through various realms in Second Life.
Based in Montreal, Canada, Jon Rafman is part of a generation of code-based artists who are focusing their work almost entirely on the nature of the internet and its effects on mass culture. Kool-Aid Man Interview in Second Life is a machinima performance (a recording of an animation created in a real-time 3D virtual environment), where the artist uses an avatar in Second Life to explore the nature of aesthetics. As the artist explains, he sees his work in Second Life as an in-depth examination of our social consciousness and the way that technology mediates and affects our interactions. And by using an avatar, he can wander this alternative, virtual world like an internet flaneur. Of course, the often clichéd graphics and CG stock characters of Second Life are no Weimar Berlin, but Rafman still takes considerable psychological risks, entering into some of the most out-there fantasy lands, sexual and otherwise. Sometimes a voyeur, other times an annoyance to those who play Second Life in earnest, in his absurd rotund costume, he positions himself as the anti-avatar, in complete opposition to romantic characters (pneumatic babes, furries, extreme Goths) that the majority of players fashion for themselves. Like a tourist, Rafman’s Kool-Aid (username: Theodore Hartono) documents his travels, and over time, the artist has compiled a hilarious album of snapshots. In each, Kool-Aid Man’s undefeatable grin renders the role-playing a little absurd, proving that context is everything, even in the artificial reality of Second Life. Says Rafman: “throughout history, artists’ have celebrated and critiqued the world around them. The world I live in cannot be critiqued without confronting the ubiquity of the internet in our society… I don’t want to fetishize these new media, I by no means think they are our salvation (for example that they will lead to a more ‘authentic’ democracy). But I feel the need to understand why the internet and all the social networks associated with it have become so damn popular. Like Siegfried Kracauer‘s analysis of cinema in the last century, I’m attempting to understand what the success and popularity of the internet reveals about our consciousness today.”
Jon Rafman received his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and studied at the McGill University. His work has been shown at the Slamdance Film Festival Rhizome.org Clubinternet.org and in physical galleries both here and abroad. But the majority of what Rafman does has less to do with his own place and more to do with where everyone else is (i.e. online all the time). His daily work involves surfing the internet for epic finds and inspirational banality, and much of his oeuvre involves compiling the serendipitous moments of web pathos and comedy that he stumbles upon. He places his new media work in contrast to other artists who hack software or use the internet as a marketing tactic for the sale of very analog paintings.