Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Hotel Pupik

noising with the residents

biking on the mountain

animation stand and animating

the drama of snails, bees, and cows

made a new series of loops that premiered on my last night at Hotel Pupik,
accompaniment to Heimo Wallner on trumpet, Llewyn Máire on sampler, and Lisa Newman chiming in occasionally with spoken word

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Passau Gigs

1. Josh Amrhein directs McSweeney's Readers Theater with students at the University of Passau
Images and sounds accompany short stories adapted for reader's theater in this production that is the brainchild of Josh Amrhein. I contributed a series of images for 'The Ceiling,' by Kevin Brockmeier.

Josh Amrhein at the door of the Ambulante Gallery

2. Freestate Freestyle: Texas meets Bavaria
an A/V performance improvisation by me and Albert Dambeck

Ambulante Gallery and Joshua Amrhein present an audio-visual evening with the electronic sounds of Albert Dambeck and video images of Leslie Raymond.

Imagine a DJ with a video mixer instead of two turntables. With two crates full of moving pictures instead of records.

What you get: moving tapestries.
And every musician Leslie Raymond works with adds a new soundrack.
And every performance is the first and last of its kind.

Albert Dambeck is a composer and musician. His main theme is music in Just Intonation. That is the creation of sounds and tones according to the overtone series. His instruments are contrabass, guitars, voice and electronics.

Leslie Raymond is an artist from San Antonio, Texas working in live cinema and video installation forms. She is one-half of the A-V group Potter-Belmar Labs, whose video work screened during Kunstnacht in Passau in 2005.

Ambulante Galerie
Große Messergasse 2/Residenzplatz, D - 94032 Passau
Tel.: 0851/85 164 165, Mobil: 0160/843 1662
ambulante gallery

Friday, July 13, 2007

Documenta FILMS

There is an excellent film program-- I saw work by Kubelka, Connor, an early Breer, Debord (I've been wanting to see for years now!) and a Burroughs-Gysin-Balch cut-up that had the audience super-charged. In another screening, I was able to take in the classic "The Sun Shines Bright" by John Ford--WOW.


Documenta was really swell. The BBB hostel where I stayed made the experience really special. A hard-working young woman named Wina has creatd this just for Documenta this one time. She is using her father's house to host 20 people a night-- everyone there for the exhibition. 20 E per night includes a solid breakfast to get you off on the right foot each day.

my picks:

the beautifully shot and editied video from the Simon Wachsmuth installation "Where We Were Then, Where We Are Now," documenting what appears to be a trainnig session for the whirling dervishes

the placement of the Paul Klee painting "Angelus Novus" on the first landing of the main stairs into the main exhibition

Tanaka Atsuko's Electric Dress

the photograph of Dobromierz sitting in the toilet from the series "Activities with Dobromierz" by KwieKulik, Thseng Yu-Chin's "Who's Listening" video, and the dialogue created by situating these works across from each other

Guy Tilliam's "Congo Democratic" series

the Lu Hao scroll of Chang'An Street, which brough to mind Ruscha's "Every Building on the Sunset Strip"

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Yang Fudong at the Venice BIENNALE

My favorite work by far came from China: "Seven Intellectuals in Bamboo Forest" by Yang Fudong (Shanghai). Interspersed throughout the show curated by Robert Storr in the Arsenale exhibition hall were 5 small screening rooms, each showing one of five parts of the film. The series of black-and-white films were originally shot on 35mm film, but projected from DVD.

"Seven Intellectuals in Bamboo Forest" comes from a traditional theme in Chinese art about a group of seven Taoist sages taking respite in the forest as they pursue anti-Confucian ideals such as individualism and personal liberty. Yang substitutes the word 'intellectuals' for the traditional terms 'sages' and 'worthies,' perhaps a comment on the evolution of the idea of wisdom in China in the 20th century.

Each part of the film is situated in a different location, and each of these five visually rich backdrops has a complex relationship with the mental and emotional climate of the characters-- both impacting as well as reflecting their inner states. And, like Matthew Barney's Cremaster Cycle, Yang uses these settings to wordlessly transport the viewer into various aesthetically charged netherworlds. Unlike Barney, however, the work goes beyond an expression of the artist's ego, depicting a representation of the history of intellectualism in China in the 20th century.

Because of the way these films were presented at the exhibition, the viewer could enter and exit at any point. Although there were beginning and end titles, the structure of the films worked well with this presentation format. Time seemed endless, unchanging, and uniform throughout the film, imbued with a sense of waiting and drifting in a manner not unlike the films of Andrei Tarkovsky.

other picks from the Biennale:
Joshua Mosley's (NY) video "Dread" and the rapid-prototypes sculptures that inhabit the video as 3D-animated characters.

El Anatsui's (Ghana) magnificant and gigantic tapestries crafted from the foil on wine bottles.

Also noteworthy: David Altmejd in the Canadian Pavilion (installation) and Emily Prince (SF) in the Arsenale

Monday, July 09, 2007

The Loop FAIR

The quality of the work in the fair was excellent, with overall production values very high, and the work generally strong even if I didn't particularly like it myself. The fair took place in the Hotel Catalonia Ramblas over a three-day period, and featured over 40 international galleries, each representing one (or two) video artist(s). It was a great atmosphere in which to see the work, with projection screens and projectors, flat-panel monitors and dvd players in the hotel rooms. The batallion of presenters and organizers became chummier, and more relaxed over the course of the fair. I won't name any names, but on the last "morning" (noon) that the rooms opend up as exhibition spaces, there was one that needed a real airing out-- an overwhelming hormonal scent of sex lingered there, causing me to cut short my viewing time.

My picks for Loop FAIR:

Janet Biggs (USA) "Airs Above the Ground" and Stephanie Lempert "Read My Lips" - represented by Claire Oliver Gallery (NYC)

Javier Téllez (Venezuela) "Oedipus Marshall" - represented by Figge Von Rosen Galerie (Cologne)

McCallum & Tarry (USA) "Exchange" - represented by Caren Golden Fine Art (NYC)

Now that video art has been accepted as a valid medium in the privledged world of the art market and museum, issues of ownership are being sorted out. One newer convention is that of the edition. Like printmakers, many videomakers are now creating editions of their works for sale. This raises the issue of the copy in the digital age. Copying a digital file is a very different enterprise than being able to make an infinite number of exact copies of a lithograph or an oil painting. MOMA curator Barbara London spoke of the sale of a video artwork as embodying the sale of a bundle of rights-- the right to own, exhibit, copy, archive, etc., each contract specific to that particular artist &/or video.

Also of longstanding interest to me is the history of moving-image art, with its rich tradition of screening-room and theater-based exhibtions. The type of social dynamic that grows out of this context makes it more than a simple back-drop for the viewing of art-film and art-video. There is also a political premise that runs through the history of (especially) video art, in that it has been used as a means to take control of the dominant storytelling medium in order to tell the stories not told by the establishment (whether they be network news or Hollywood). How these issues do or do not jive with the current developments of video in the art world is telling.