From the artist's statement: Nile Studies is an artistic research and investigation project, an experimental photographic and cultural mapping survey by digitally (slit)scanning Nile's long coastlines and landscapes along with its long and complicated history and politics.
Jennifer and Kevin McCoy are a married couple of New York-based artists whose collaborative work conveys a love of film and televised narratives. Their early projects embodied database aesthetics as they chopped shows like 8 is Enough, Kung Fu, and Starsky and Hutch into short clips, often inviting viewers to rearrange them according to what we'd now call metadata. For instance, one could choose from a bank of DVDs in their Every Shot, Every Episode to watch every occurrence of the color blue, or of extreme close-ups. More recent works have entailed building elaborate miniature film sets, complete with working cameras, to shoot microfilms. In the case of High Seas, the set is a sort of kinetic sculpture in its own right, mimicking its subject as it moves around to create shots of the famed Titanic loosing its footing on the ocean. The role of filmic media in mythologizing the ill-fated boat is of course implicit in the installation. While these projects have always been infused with a sense of subjectivity, as the artists perform their fandom through their selective decisions, lately their work has incorporated more explicitly autobiographical elements. Their piece, Our Second Date, for instance, is a miniature movie set which features the artists watching the film from their second date, Weekend, reenacted through a mobile sculpture and video streamed live to a tiny screen. The choice to position themselves as spectators within their own reality, and moreover to confess that their romance budded around screen pleasure opens up a number of interpretations of their ongoing work and paves the way to their newest project, which opens November 22nd at Postmasters Gallery. In I'll Replace You, the artists again place themselves at center stage, without stepping in front of the camera. Instead, a series of different ...
Opening this weekend at Utrecht's BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, "Artur Żmijewski: The Social Studio" features a handful of the Polish artist's recent works, including videos Them (2007) and Powtórzenie/Repetition (2005). The exhibition title offers a helpful, conceptual frame for Żmijewski's pieces, which take the form of quasi-documentary "social experiments," often counterpoising the disabled or marginalized with signs or representatives of societal ideals and political force. In photograph and video series Oko za oko/Eye for an eye (1998), for example, Żmijewski combines the bodies of amputees and those of the physically fit into "corporal hybrids." The articulation of bodily difference here also becomes the precondition for new forms of social interaction and integration, achieved through Żmijewski's manipulation of the conventions of portraiture. These results are in keeping with the artist's broader agenda, comprehensively laid out in his essay, "The Applied Social Arts," that artistic production should "take responsibility and engage...with the current social and political reality." A timely return to past controversy, Powtórzenie/Repetition re-conducts Philip Zimbardo's 1971 Stanford Prison experiment, in which ordinary college students assumed the roles of wardens and prisoners in a mock-prison environment. Claiming to be an expert in the "psychology of evil," Zimbardo here sought to show the predictable behaviors people adopt in such charged, power-based circumstances. While the facility with which the students adopted sadistic or masochistic roles then seemed to confirm Zimbardo's theory, Żmijewski's participants chose an alternative solution: they protested the project and collectively left the prison. Though Powtórzenie/Repetition caused a good deal of outrage in Poland, its participants' action does lend some credence to Żmijewski's belief that provocative art may "influence social consciousness and stimulate reflection." - Tyler Coburn
Image: Artur Żmijewski, Powtórzenie/Repetition, 2005 (Still)