Video Darwinism

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The artist residency program at Minneapolis' Walker Art Center has hosted ambitious projects by Nari Ward, Julie Mehretu, Rirkrit Tiravanija, and other notable artists over the years. Most recently Catherine Sullivan completed the multi-channel video project, Triangle of Need (2007), in conjunction with the museum, where it is currently on view through November 18th. Trained as an actor, Sullivan is known for incorporating elements of theater and performance in her work. For 'Triangle' she worked with Minneapolis choreographer Dylan Skybrook among other collaborators to create her most cinematic piece to date, which features two parallel narratives, one set in an archetypal American city, the other in the Gilded-age mansion at Maimi's Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. Constructed in 1910 by industrialist James Deering, the Florida estate was designed to replicate successive eras in architectural history--from the Rennaisance to the Neo-Classical--in a single building that reflects the historical fantasies of its creator. Similar riffs on different evolutionary moments coexisting in the present run through the project, and the video itself can be seen to flatten the development of performance media, combining elements of theater, dance, and cinema in a work that frequently resembles a made-for-television historical drama.