Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Curated by Darrin Martin & Torsten Zenas Burns

The power to name is often antithetical to the open ambiguities of dynamic artistic expressions. The videos within this program could only be brought together under the same umbrella with the meta-neologism Apportmanteau. Neologism, in the sense that it is the curators’ own word derived from apport, meaning the transference of an article from one unknown space to another, and meta, in the sense that part of the word is derived from portmanteau, which by very definition is a word comprised of two or more words. The following video works engage language on a slippery slope through a number of methods that may at times solidify the object of meaning only to transfer it to another less indistinguishable realm.

Digicosmos may perhaps be the most direct work to initiate the spirit of apportmanteau in both its name and process. Deriving from an experiment that connected images of Paris (France) and Busan (Korea) over a network, Argentine Lee visually connects physical aspects of both the east and the west with a chimeric reference that facilitates a cyberspace between the abstraction of digital information and the epic clarity of its potential for representation.

The Widening Gyre also engages the later but instead of deriving its visual vocabulary from recognizable spaces, Geoff Bell initiates a series of ambiguous vision-scapes as a vehicle linking ever threatening geo-political anxieties with a processed nostalgic age. At times, the ultimate dream transference lies incomplete and becomes the “manifestation” itself.

This could also be said of Suzie Silver and Hilary Harps’ Nebula, a video that evades language. Through the use of intricate ambiguous forms, it’s a voyage that elegantly moves between suggestive structures that evoke the visceral internal world of the body and the possible gargantuan shapes of the mysterious universe.

Both Michelle Handelman’s and Karina Aguilera Skvirsky’s videos use the monster as a point of psychological transference through vastly different means. Handelman’s This Delicate Monster confuses the space between reimagined horror genre,other worldly fashion shoot,and speculative summer camp leaving us with the reality that all are equally seductive and ludicrous. Skvirsky’s Blowback instigates a political questioning of the day as nightly news representations of mostly Arabic victims of war are appropriated into the scenic xenophobic landscape of a zombie film. Both works, oddly enough, use rural backdrops to unfold their nightmarish visions.

Darrin Martin’s Other Turbans also engages the potentially monstrous through the lens of technology’s infringement upon the body. The unveiling of a screw or port embedded in the artist’s skull transpires through layers of colorful ambiguities and cinéma vérité camerawork confusing the intentionality of the video to exist as a medical documentation of something or as an artistic endeavor. Feeling Free with 3D Magic Eye Poster Remix also employs medicinal self-help on a more playful but still ferociously ambiguous level as the artist, Shana Moulton, performs the character of a woman existing somewhere between the banality of suburbia and a new age nether-plane. Her activities culminate in a kaleidoscopic revelry of celebratory kitche that is a land like no other. Cooper Battersby and Emily Vey Dukes’ Attention Public resides as a piece that most directly engages the use of language. However, the transference comes in the form of a “Freedom Language” that holds the potential to grant “psycho-emotional space” for those who are “with-it.” The recognition that the press cannot convey the message forces the protagonist out from the underground to relay her message.

Whether the videos in Apportmanteau are used as a key to grand sociological freedoms or to open up spaces between existing or imaginary worlds, they are all connected to the notion of reinvention. Like alchemists of old or scientist anew, the artists in the program are churning ideas of lead into gold even if some of the gold is for fools. Ultimately, the works reside beyond an economy that values the norm and sometimes the transference is all that matters.

Saturday, October 13, 2007



PART 3 of "The New Freedom Founders"
“With this project, we aim to clear a psycho-spiritual space for the viewer which was not cleared before. We want this space to contain empathy (identification) and joy. We want to achieve, in the making of the works, a sensation of ecstatic transformation, because it is our conviction that if such a sensation is present in the making of the works, that sensation will become available to the viewer. In order to clear this new space, we must not default to familiar tropes. The work must seem mostly unfamiliar, even uncanny. It cannot, however, be so unfamiliar as to repel the viewer. Offering the viewer a place to sit between convention or cliché and confusion, boredom or repulsion is our project with The New Freedom Founders.
We know we are destined to mostly fail, but we believe that by simply representing our attempt, we will in some measure reach our goal.”

Saturday, September 22, 2007



Inspired by William Butler Yeats' poem, 'The Second Coming', The Widening Gyre is an experimental 'dreamscape' that contrasts an age of exuberance within the larger context of strong geopolitical uncertainties and anxieties we are witnessing right now. Although the word gyre means any manner of swirling vortex, Yeats claimed that the image of the gyre captured contrary motions inherent in the process of history. The Widening Gyre presents unfamiliar beauties emerging from our rich visual history and posits them in relationship to world where the social chaos, and the pressure of information, the 'wreckage', is monumental.

Thursday, September 20, 2007



Appropriating a dated exercise video hosted by actress Angela Lansbury, Feeling Free presents a woman, played by Moulton, who attempts to follow the televised workout in her living room even as elements of her home dÈcor begin to appear onscreen. Deriving its title from an inspirational segment of Lansbury's program, Feeling Free subjects the appropriated footage to eccentric visual and audio displacements, culminating in a psychedelic dance sequence set to a remix of the program's insipid theme song. The piece was first shown in the context of Moulton's multimedia performance Decorations of the Mind.



The third piece in a trilogy on hearing loss. The artist as
post-operative subject discovers Max Neuhaus’s Times
Square and a field of high tension wires via contemplative
excursions to adjust to his new implant.



Nebula is a hallucinogenically immersive spectacle: a complex, audio-visual composition that pays playful homage to science fiction fantasies. Captured for video by means of stop-motion photography, objects made of glass, glitter and tulle, are nestled within a kaleidoscopic flow of computer-generated imagery. Drawing from Thomas Wilfred's Clavilux color organs as well as experimental abstract filmmakers such as Mary Ellen Bute, and James and John Whitney, Nebula also recalls liquid light shows and the marvelous sightings of the Hubble Space Telescope. By enveloping the viewer in a multisensory experience absolutely other than our daily materiality, Nebula mines the wonder and pleasure at the root of both cosmology and camp.SS+HH



'This Delicate Monster' is part of a multi-media pop fable inspired by Charles Baudelaire’s 19th century collection of poems, Flowers of Evil. I’ve transposed the Flowers of Evil into a contemporary pop landscape, creating a haunting and hallucinatory fragmented narrative that lies somewhere between conceptual art piece and pure visceral experience. Collaborating with couture fetish designer Garo Sparo, Italian noise band Larsen, and a cast of performers, I’m trying to seduce the viewer into the abyss of fear and desire, while breathing life into Baudelaire’s text such as, “No abyss compares with your bed”, “condemned to an eternal laugh because I know not how to smile”, and “to swallow up existence with a yawn”. Like Artaud’s Theater of Cruelty, this piece implicates the viewer into a mediated world of attraction and repulsion, with moments so loaded with the symbolic that they destroy meaning altogether. The exhibit becomes a sympathetic symphony of gasps, shrieks and repetitive actions that can best be described as a cross between a horror film and a fashion shoot gone terribly wrong.MH



In Blowback (2005), appropriated b-roll News images of victims of war and natural disaster promenade through Central Park slowly appearing into the landscape, stirring forward and finally becoming larger than life. Caught in the crossfire of cameras, they are symbolic zombies in between life and death. The soundtrack, sampled and composed from classic horror movie tracks, serves to emphasize the characters truncated physical movements. The classic Zombie movie explores the idea of the abject—the breakdown in meaning caused by the loss of the distinction between subject and object or self and other. The primary example for what causes such a reaction is the corpse, which traumatically reminds us of our own materiality. Blowback seeks to both explore the Xenophobia that has become more direct since September 11 while also critiquing the media’s use of random images to support their stories—whatever they may be. The term “Blowback”, (negative fallout), was coined by the CIA in the 1950’s as a metaphor to describe the “unintended consequences of the US government’s international activities”.



In her works the artist questions the identity of the individual who is standing on the boundary between the machine and humanism. She expresses the unstable feeling of chaos and wandering.
'Digicosmos' is the artist's conjugation of two words : 'digi' meaning the digital and 'cosmos' meaning the perfect system, order, universe. This work explores the concept of time and space between the two cities, Paris(France) and Busan(Korea) joined by networks. It is the expression of a material universe composed of different times and spaces. In the earth the material has been divided into two parts: the east and the west.Both ends meet each other by the means of network system. The artist focuses the process of exchanging information and delivering concepts between the two cities. She conceived another universe of imagination in the network interface based on a new order.