I had the opportunity to drop by LoVid's (Tali Hinkis and Kyle Lapidus) studio at Smack Mellon in DUMBO this week, where they were awarded space for the 2009 cycle of their Artist Studio Program. In their work, LoVid hack and manipulate video in a myriad of ways -- sewing it into quilts, melding it with resin and foam core to make 3D sculptures, integrating live video feeds into the body of other sculptures, altering it in live performance, or weaving the electric wires that transmit video signals into large textiles. Their practice brings the elemental technologies behind video to the fore, while also emphasizing the interactive systems that trigger them. The below photo essay provides a small preview to some of their recent and older works. To see everything they've been up to, be sure to stop by Smack Mellon's Open Studios on Saturday March 20th from 12-6pm, when LoVid will open up their workspace to the public.
Home of the Brave is a 1986 American concert film featuring the music of Laurie Anderson, who also directed the movie. The film's full on-screen title is Home of the Brave: A Film by Laurie Anderson. The performances were filmed in Brooklyn during the summer of 1985.
Testament is a series of collective self-portraits made up of fragments from online video diaries, or “vlogs”. The project consisted of a series of chapters, each of which focuses on a collectively told vignette, story, proclamation, or meditation on topics such as identity, the economy, illness, politics, the war, or work. Testament explores the formal and conceptual consequences of online video viewing and sharing, while analyzing contemporary expressions of self, and the stories we are currently telling online about our lives and our circumstances. Clips are edited and sequenced like streams and patterns of self-revelation and narrative that flow and dissipate over space and time. As in a Greek chorus, a choir, or a musical symphony, individuals echo, respond to, contradict, add refrains, iterations, and variations, join in, and complete solo narrations. The series reflects on the peculiar blend of intimacy and anonymity, of simultaneous connectivity and isolation that characterizes online social relations.
2010, Francesco Bonami and Gary Carrion-Murayari’s Whitney Biennial, is essentially a Whitney Biennial calibrated for the times: small at 55 artists and altogether humble. This humility, and the fact that one needn’t contend with an overwrought curatorial concept, allows viewers a more cogent experience than past, sprawling, thesis-driven Biennials could offer. Several works, rooms and motifs make good impressions. Not many are impressive enough to make an indelible impact—but a few are. Judging by the past couple decades, the task of this biennial of American art seems insurmountable, and there is no urgency to fault this edition for hitting the target and missing the bulls-eye. While the levelness here is exciting as an indicator of a playing field for post-boom artistic production, the devil’s advocate wonders, perhaps unfairly, if there isn’t something ultimately more exciting about a splashy Biennial that fails stupendously.
In the absence of an overarching conceit, why not start with a premise that did precede itself a bit: the third floor as a dedicated space for film and video. Considering the continued expansion of film and video practices throughout the art world, the idea seemed gimmicky at best—easily the curators could fill a floor, but why ghettoize? Then, come February 25, visitors stepping off the elevator and onto floor three were greeted by a tapestry by Pae White, freezing a frame of interlaced wisps of smoke in a vast expanse of fabric. Mercifully this is not a plain LCD screen (as it turns out, the floor showcases a variety of mediums), but as a piece that meditates on materiality, medium and time, it serves as an excellent banner to welcome visitors to the area of the exhibition that is most concentrated on media. The projects therein attending to these matters soar.
I tracked down curator Hanne Mugaas, one of the organizers behind New York's Art Since the Summer of '69, for a 1 question interview, à la Rafaël Rozendaal's One Question Interview blog. Mugaas is the first to curate a new public video art initiative in Stavanger, Norway called Public Screens. In the spirit of Boston's Lumen Eclipse or Creative Time's At 44 1/2, Public Screens presents video art around the city on large public screens. Mugaas's exhibition for this new project "Keep On Moving, Don’t Stop" brings together animations by a young generation of artists who grew up under the specter of the internet, television and video games. Artists include Michael Bell-Smith, Vidya Gastaldon, Ezra Johnson, Yui Kugimiya, Takeshi Murata, Adam Shecter, and Espen Friberg. (More shots of the exhibit after the jump.) Given the topic of the show, I thought it would be fitting to ask Hanne about her childhood exposure to animation.
What was your favorite animated television show as a child and why?
My favorite animation as a kid was Flåklypa Grand Prix (Pinchcliffe Grand Prix) from 1975. It was made by the legendary Norwegian animator Ivo Caprino. It's about the inventor Reodor Felgen who's living with his animal friends Ludvig, a nervous, pessimistic and melancholic hedgehog, and Solan, a cheerful and optimistic magpie. One day, the trio discover that one of Reodor's former assistants, Rudolf Blodstrupmoen, has stolen his design for a race car engine and has become a world champion Formula One driver. Solan secures funding from an Arab oil sheik who happens to be vacationing in Flåklypa, and to enter the race, the trio builds a gigantic racing car ...
Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Grey upset the purpose of portraiture--rather than preserving the memory of its subject in his best light, the painting of the title grew gradually uglier to record Grey's sins, even as he kept the beauty that facilitated his sinning--but left intact art's status as an attribute of rich, leisured living. The arch moral tale is invoked twice in "Virtuoso Illusion: Cross-Dressing and the New Media Avant-Garde," an exhibition currently on view at MIT's List Visual Arts Center. Michelle Handelman's hour-long, four-channel video Dorian, 2009, loosely retells Wilde's novel with club kids standing in for opium eaters. In her ghoulishly lit self-portrait Dorian Grey, Manon appears messily caked in makeup, wearing a baggy gray suit, like the corporate conscience of a hedonist spirit. Both of these works introduce to drag a story about beauty, representation, and pleasure, and the anxieties that attend them. This suggests there's more to "Virtuoso Illusion" than an exercise in gender studies; as exhibition curator Michael Rush writes, "[i]n each major historical advancement of experimental art, cross dressing has been present as a strategy that has expanded the possibilities of the perception-bending intentions of artists (as opposed to merely gender-bending)."