Marina Abramovic (Yugoslavia), Yael Bartana (Israel), Jacqueline Bates (US), Nicola Constantino (Argentina), Olga Egorova (Russia),
Theo Eshetu (UK), Andrea Juan (Argentina), Marcia Grostein (US/Brasil), Jenny Marketou (Greece), Shirin Neshat (Iran),
Nam June Paik (US/Korea), Patricia Piccinini (Sierra Leone), Kathleen Ruiz (US), Eder Santos (Brasil), Marty St. James (UK),
Leonid Tishkov (Russia), Monika Weiss (Poland), Zhang Yuan (China), Mateo Zlatar (Chile).
Curated by Nina Colosi, Founder, TheProjectRoom.org, New York
Proposed Lecture Series:
1-”Collecting the New Classics”- Paulina Kolczynska, Art Historian/Advisor
2-”Semiotics and Anthropological Perspective on Codes of Culture”- Lucia Santaella, Professor, Sao Paulo Catholic University, Brazil
3-”The Evolution of Reading and Writing in the Networked Era”- Bob Stein, Director of Institute for the Future of the Book
4-Artists: Marty St. James (UK); Jenny Marketou (Greece/US)
In tribute to Nam June Paik (1932 - 2006), this exhibition of recent video art presents diverse perspectives on codes of culture by artists from around the world. In YOU COULD BE LUCKY, YAEL BARTANA observes people acting in patterns of popular social behaviors,and EDER SANTOS in FRAMED BY CURTAINS and JACQUELINE BATES in SONO ANDATI, search for meaning in everyday rituals. OLGA EGOROVA (TSAPLYA) presents a humorous lecture on the results of studying the cultural implications of women’s underwear in society in UNDERWEAR. METHODOLOGICAL OBSERVATION ON DOMESTICATION AND RESEARCH.
SNOW ANGEL by LEONID TISHKOV recalls the artist’s childhood in a mysterious image of a spiritual journey to the Ural mountains in Russia, that remains the source of his inspiration. HOMAGE by MARTY ST. JAMES is a self-portrait with his signature fedora hat that is an homage to a comradery with family, friends and fellow artists who wear them. The chanting of Buddhist monks propel St. James’ dreamlike journey to locate and inhabit an inner sense of self and being in spaces existing between meaning and meaninglessness, the moving and static.
In KARASELE by MARCIA GROSTEIN, there is no way to escape for a family trapped in a cycle of abuse. MARINA ABRAMOVIC transforms her own fears and emotions into startling images that frequently take on ritual or ceremonial forms and that critique the role that the female body is made to play in Western culture. INSOMNIA belongs to a three-part installation that explores the insistent and recurring process of traumatic memory. PULSE by SHIRIN NESHAT speaks of the tension between collective cultural identity and one driven by individual concerns in contemporary Islam. This intoxicating work deals with the type of candid sexuality that occurs when everything is so controlled. PHLEGETHON-MILCZENIE is a performance-based video, where the artist, MONIKA WEISS creates a universal memorial to culture destroyed by tyrants, through symbolic images and music, as well as objects -- pre-WWII German books-- with which she has bodily contact as she draws around her silhouette.
ANTARCTICA PROJECT by ANDREA JUAN reflects on the impact of human patterns of consumption on the environment. NICOLA CONSTANTINO’s SAVON DE CORPS, reflects on consumerism in society where things are not what they seem. In this commercial Constantino is both seductress and the raw material of the soap product which has been made with 3 percent of the artist’s body fat.
“I think the function of the artist is to change the
ways humans can think. Artists have to be analysts of society." Marina Abramovic
JENNY MARKETOU breaks through the walls of conventions in TRANSLOCAL: CAMP IN MY TENT, a performative public intervention, that reveals people’s cultural differences in their diverse interpretations of her identity – threat, prostitute, political activist - as they react to the tent she sets up in public spaces around the world. In BRAVE NEW WORLD, THEO ESHETU juxtaposes technologically developed societies and local cultures.
“Our life is half natural and half technological. Half-and-
half is good. You cannot deny that high-tech is
progress. We need it for jobs. Yet if you make only
high-tech, you make war. So we must have a strong
human element to keep modesty and natural life.”
Nam June Paik
NAM JUNE PAIK, in the 1960s and 1970s predicted that a global culture would emerge through technology and the creation of an “information super highway” which has come to be realized as the Internet. GOOD MORNING MR.ORWELL was the first artwork to use telecommunications to enable an intercontinental exchange of culture, broadcasting live via satellite simultaneously between the US, Canada, Germany and South Korea. CRAZY ENGLISH by ZHANG YUAN documents the work of Professor Li Yuang whose unique method of teaching English has reached over 10 million Chinese. Yuang teaches his students to shout in English to instill the fighting spirit that exists in the cultures of the US Europe and Japan in order to build the self-confidence and communications skills needed to become a global superpower in the 21st Century.
New codes of culture are evolving in adaptation to the technological revolution, altering our perception and daily patterns. This suggests the possibility of a future of post-human forms of existence and remodeling of the human body, mind and consciousness: SANDMAN by PATRICIA PICCININI, DESKTOP METAPHOR by MATEO ZLATAR and COMPILE by KATHLEEN RUIZ.
Insomnia from Spirit House, 1997, 6:13
Insomnia belongs to a 3-part installation, including Dissolution and Luminosity, originally conceived as The Spirit House and installed in a former municipal slaughterhouse in Portugal in 1997. A tango piece was played in the room where the cattle would spend their last night awaiting the morning slaughter. The spectators entered into the space hearing the artist’s tape recorded voice that spoke that the body cannot burn as long as blood still flows and the spirit cannot burn ever. The work explores the insistent and recurring processes of traumatic cultural memory and forgetting on three separate screens.
Marina Abramovic (b.1946, Yugoslavia) is currently living and working in New York City. Abramovic has exhibited all over the world and a large amount of writing exists on her work. Throughout her career, her performances have involved concrete danger and physical violence, raising ethical questions and - by pushing existing bodily limits - transporting both artist and audience to a different mental state. Physically strenuous tasks have also been a way for the artist to look at the implications of embodied experience and to direct the audience towards a physical and conceptual engagement with her work. Abramovic's pieces are marked by a desire to transform her own fears and emotions into startling images that frequently take on ritual or ceremonial forms and that critique the role that the female body is made to play in Western culture. (Netherlands Media Art Institute)
You Could Be Lucky, 2004, 7:00
Yael Bartana’s short video works are part documentary and part anthropology. They are also compelling and arresting works of art. Bartana (b. 1970, Israel) focuses her lens on everyday life in her native Israel, and elsewhere, shooting footage of holiday celebrations, memorial ritual, and other social gatherings. She chooses activities that are familiar and she then employs a variety of cinematic techniques to decode underlying cultural themes within them. She has an exceptionally sensitive eye for the public rituals and ceremonies that mark out the way pleasure is made political and simple games and social affairs become anthropological codes for belonging or refusing to conform. Yael Bartana’s video installations and photographs have been shown in solo and international group exhibitions and video festivals in Israel, Europe, US, Netherlands, Asia, and she has won numerous prizes and residencies. She lives and works in Tel-Aviv and Amsterdam.
You Could Be Lucky takes place on the day of the Grand National, perhaps the world's most famous steeplechase race, held in Liverpool since 1839. Commissioned by the Liverpool Biennial, Bartana decided to turn the camera on the watchers, using her outsider’s sharp perception to capture the rituals of the English class system and the essence of the city itself. “My motivation to make a video work about the Grand National in Aintree relates to my interest in capturing and reflecting the identity of a place and its people by framing popular social behaviors that occur within it."
Sono Andati, 2004, 1:00
Italian American Jacqueline Bates created this video after returning to New York from time in Florence, where she lived with an Italian family, immersed in customs and culture that were familiar to her but which also seemed surprisingly alien. “When I began making comparisons, I saw that traditions and customs become diluted as families detach from their country of origin and raise children in a new culture. Sono Andati aims to depict the new hybrid culture that emerges from this which has been portrayed by the media to be authentically Italian and therefore accepted by Americans as such”.
Bates stylized her video as a series of still images as if from a family photo album, in which to frame the places and objects that define and symbolize the values of a culture reminiscent of its country of origin - the family gathering at a wedding, regal gold interior decoration, the church, religious icons, fashion, social behaviors, marriage and children. Within the video the artist plays the role of a young provocateur, physically present in the structure of this lifestyle with its security and familial love, but distant and detached, searching in her daydreaming, for something more. “So much discontent manifests itself when people are bound by family traditions that they are too preconditioned to question.” Jacqueline Bates (b.1981, US) graduated from School of Visual Arts in 2004 with a BFA in Photography, She has exhibited in Moscow, Paris and NY and her work is in private collections.
Savon de Corps (2004) :55
Nicola Constantino (b. 1964, Argentina) is an internationally renowned artist who has exhibited in leading international museums, She regards teaching techniques for the production of art objects and sculptures as a significant part of her life. One of the obsessive and recurrent aspects in her body of work is the treatment of animal and human anatomy precisely sifted through the filters of ingestion and fashion in a violent manner.associated with a series of rites, customs and technologies that have taken different directions in her work. The work speaks of the usually invisible sub-world of the necessary industry of death, which is the basis of our food provision and rules our gastronomical culture. Psychologist, Carlos Kuri wrote, “The objects produced by Costantino expose those states of the body that must be suppressed from view. The cadaverous in the food, the inhuman in fashion, leather, skin, and human hair in clothing, and now the field of cosmetics and surgery.
The advertising strategy for the marketing of cosmetics through commercials and print ads relies on the public’s attraction to the image of a model and not on the article itself. Savon de Corps is an installation in three parts – commercial, billboard and soap set, with Nicola Constantino playing the role of model. In the commercial she enters, semi-nude, into her bath and washes with the soap product, underscored with evocative music and the words “take a bath with me” spoken in French, the language of glamour, luxury and the world of cosmetics. The viewer is enticed by this promise of a product that can fulfill one’s desire for sensuality through the soap, but it is not what it seems. Constantino is not only the seductress, but also the raw material of the soap product. Savon de Corps has been made with 3 percent of the artist’s body fat.
OLGA EGOROVA (TSAPLYA)
Underwear. Methodological Observation On Domestication And Research, 2000 12:38
Told in the format of an instructional video, Tsaplya (b.1968, Russia) presents a detailed deconstruction of the meaning of women’s underwear illustrating the feminist slogan “the personal is political”. Combining the dry narration of a lecturer with the poetic personification of women’s slips she teaches young girls (and the viewers) to look closely at underwear and its possible meanings, depending on the country manufacturing it, material used, whether or not it carries any marks and its size. The narration of the “teacher” is edited with the interviews of girls describing their experience with different slips.
Olga Egorova (Tsaplya) and Natalha Pershina-Jakimanskaja (Glucklya) founded the Factory of Found Clothing in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1995 - an art group based on the principles of a post-feminism. The work combines performance, environmental works, situationist action, video and sound. “Contrary to traditional feminism we aspire to show#distinction between male and female, especially in Russia where we live in a society constructed exclusively on man's external values - money, success, authority. And what is traditionally#considered female - sympathy, love, compassion - is situated at the#margins of society. In our works we aspire to show or design a correct (utopian) mutual relationship between male and female, internal and external. One of the important principles of our work is to involve people of different social groups. Girls, sailors,#divers, beggars, policemen - all of them can play an active role in#our activity”. The artists exhibit in Europe, Sweden, and Russia.
Brave New World, 2000 (excerpt) 17:00
Born in London in 1958, Theo Eshetu, a Rome-based, London-schooled video artist and grandson of Ato Tekle Tsadik Mekouria, Minister of Culture and Education of Ethiopia under Emperor Hailie Selassie, grew up in a diplomat family speaking the Wolaff language at Dakar, Serbo-Croat in Belgrade and English in London, until his father took a job in Rome. This cultural cross-pollination informs his work which presents a provocative range of visions that articulate notions of cultural dialogue in a digital world including the effect of digital and communications technologies in creating/shaping an African diaspora consciousness or identity. Eshetu exemplifies a new outlook that views geo-cultural borders as quaint holdovers from a past era.
As a videomaker, Eshetu explores the expressive capabilities of the medium and the manipulation of the language of television. Exploring themes and imagery from anthropology, art history, scientific research, and religious iconography, he attempts to define how electronic media shapes identity and perception. World cultures, particularly the relationship of African and European cultures, often inform Eshetu's work. In Brave New World, Esehtu juxtaposes technologically developed societies and local cultures. He has taught video and communications in numerous universities, art colleges, and film schools in Italy. Theo Eshetu has worked in media art since 1982, creating installations, video art works, and television documentaries. In 1987, he formed White Light, a documentary production company. His work has been exhibited in Europe, Japan, Canada and the US. Courtesy, Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), NY
Antarctica Project, 2005, 9:00
Andrea Juan (b. Argentina, 1964) lives in Buenos Aires and works in several mediums - photography, digital video, graphic art and installations. Her work has been exhibited in the US, South America, Europe, Netherlands, Russia, Israel, and Korea. She is a Professor of Visual Art at National University of Tres de Febrero, Buenos Aires. The artist has been inspired to create the Antarctica Project as a result of learning from environmental scientists that the impact of human patterns of consumption and pollution can trigger the melting of the glaciers. The resulting climate changes will increase the chance of setting off a progression of devastation. Andrew Clarke of the British Antarctic Survey warns, “The Antarctic Peninsula is one of three points on the globe that is warming particularly quickly at the moment." Climate has always changed, but … it looks as though we have set upon something which could change the face of the globe, and in this context, change the face of Antarctica quite rapidly”.
To call attention to the potential catastrophy, the artist travelled to the bases Marambio, Esperanza and Jubany in Antarctica where she created a month-long program of symbolic performances and videos installations of images of flowers and fire onto the glaciers. “We risk our own existence by pushing our relationship with the environment to a breaking point. We are in our exile and must question our own behaviour, our devastating relationship with the environment, and be intolerant of those in power who do not see the importance of placing value on these concerns.”
Karasele, 2006, 5:00
Marcia Grostien (b.1949, Brasil) lives and works in New York creating a diverse repertoire of work that is a fluid choreography of visual and performing arts. International curator, art critic and historian, Sheila Leirner wrote, “After moments of technological optimism in this long history of industrial society, artists like Marcia, whether in developed or developing countries, now wish to get back to existential questions of life, but in a manner close to their own way of being.…they no longer “symbolize” mythology, sensuality, humor, drama or tragedy, they incarnate it.” Grostein expresses a broad range of states of consciousness focusing on humanist themes from the realm of private inner life, personal angst and complex relationships, sexuality, violence, love, birth and death to unexpected playful pubic intervention performance works and sculptural public art. Art 4 Play, a sculpture for public parks, is a variation on this humanist theme, as it creates through artful configurations, a catalyst for social interaction for children and families.
Grostein’s video art meshes watercolor, painting, sculpture, sound and theater, with a dancing gestural freedom and an artful and intuitive manipulation of digital media to shape her concepts. Karasele is a dramatic work that captures the gripping trauma and complexities of abuse between husband and wife and its devastating effect on the child. The title is a metaphor that symbolizes that the cycle of abuse is like a carousel - one cannot stop circling unless they bravely leap from it. The artist has exhibited in leading museums, galleries, and public spaces in the US, South America, Europe, Japan, Cuba, and Canada. Her work is collected by museums and private collectors and she has edited videos and designed dance and theater sets in collaboration with many luminary directors.
Translocal: Camp in my Tent 1996-2001
Jenny Marketou (b. 1954, Athens) incorporates photography, video, film, radio, public interventions and using the museum or gallery as a place of production – she takes her subjects out of their normal context and explores them by converging reality and fiction, history and memory, identity and geography, agency , power and control in both the private and public domain. Marketou lives in New York, has exhibited and lectured internationally since 1988 and has traveled extensively. Translocal: Camp in my Tent is a migratory performative public intervention art project that took place between 1996 and 2001 in the US, Mexico, Netherlands, Israel, Palestine, Germany, Cyprus, and Poland. The artist set up a tent in public spaces in these cities and filmed reactions and interactions with passers by, revealing their cultural differences in their diverse interpretations of her identity – for example, she was seen as a threat in Central Park, NYC, a prostitute in Rotterdam, and a political activist in Mexico City. A secondary part of the project took place in museums in the cities. A tent was set up and visitors were invited to an artificially beautiful tourist extravaganza surrounded by videos of the public locations, with surveillance camera and communication by internet to other participants.
Marketou is interested in social networks and visualizing things that are not in themselves visual. She poses many questions about migration and belonging as we observe the manner in which her identity transforms and is challenged by the different cultures. “Identity is always changing and cannot be defined by one thing,” she said. “Translocal: Camp in my Tent explores how technology including surveillance and control effects and transforms this. In both public and private spaces, our actions may be watched. Identities are malleable – they change and expand. They can be packed up and moved, just like a home.”
Pulse, 2001, 7:30
Iranian-born American artist Shirin Neshat (b. Iran 1957) is considered one of the most important contemporary artists in the world. Her highly intimate, autobiographical video works, are only minutes long and often filmed in black and white. The artist questions the role of women in Islamic society, recognizing the tensions between a collective cultural identity and one driven by individual concerns. In her own filmic language she combines spare, often graphic-like images with music and text taking the form of fragments of Persian poetry painted on the bodies of her actors. The female figure adorned in a black chador and Farsi text has become emblematic of her work. The artist says: "I would call my work a visual discourse on feminism and contemporary Islam. In it I strive to analyze certain facts and myths, proving that they are much more complex than they initially seem. I am more someone who poses questions. I prefer to ask them than to answer them, and that is what my work consists of."
Pulse focuses on issues of gender relations and the relationship between Medieval and contemporary Islam. This mysterious, metaphysical film depicts a woman, played by Shohreh Aghdashloo, singing along with the radio. She is intoxicated by the singing man as he voices the time-defying lyrics of Rumi. Neshat creates in Pulse a highly erotically charged atmosphere but with the subtlest of gestures, which the woman controls because of her sense of internalized taboo. The actress almost appears to be making love with the radio. Her singing allows a moment of unguarded sexuality which is emphasized by the heart-beat rhythm of Deyhim's music.
NAM JUNE PAIK
Good Morning Mr. Orwell, 1984, 30:33
Nam June Paik (Korea/US 1932-2006) was a groundbreaking and influential artist whose work radically redefined the role of moving image media in contemporary art. From his Fluxus-based performances and altered television sets of the early 1960s, to his video works and multi-media installations of recent decades, exercising radical art-making strategies with irreverent humor, he reconfigures the language, content and technology of television. Merging global communications theories with an antic Pop sensibility, his works explore the juncture of art, media and popular culture as he interweaves avant-garde figures, pop icons and electronic processing. In 1974, he coined the term "information superhighway". He believed that multimedia fine art can contribute to the reality of cultural understanding in a more meaningful way than other art forms or popular culture.
Good Morning Mr. Orwell is an edited version of Nam June Paik's first international satellite "installation," which was held on New Year's Day 1984. Paik coordinated the event and designed the TV graphics that connected the various live and pre-recorded segments. Paik's transcultural satellite extravaganzas linked different countries, spaces, and times in often chaotic but entertaining collages of art and pop culture, the avant-garde and television. Good Morning Mr. Orwell, which Paik saw as a rebuttal to Orwell's dystopian vision of 1984, linked US, Canada, Germany and South Korea. It was intercontinental exchange of culture though a global mix of party and performance featuring vibrant performances by Laurie Anderson, Merce Cunningham, Peter Gabriel and Allen Ginsberg, and appearances by Joseph Beuys, Salvador Dali, John Cage, among many others. Today, his vision of global connectivity has come to be realized as the Internet, which he envisioned was a way to bring nations together. Courtesy Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York
Sandman, 2002, 6:00
Patricia Piccinini (b. Africa, 1965) lives and works in Australia as a sculptor, painter, photographer and video artist. After graduating art school as a painter in 1994 she became interested in the human genome initiative - a project aimed at cataloging the entire human genome, a feat that would allow scientists to modify the genetic makeup of humans in the future. The artist began to envision the possibilities, wondering if we could design our children what they would look like and created a series of designer babies, truck babies and others new hybrid creatures. Piccinini’s work questions: What is the definition of "natural" and the definition of "artificial," and how do those definitions change over time? We can now treat nature in general as one would treat wood. We can make things out of it. However, we have always done that; we've always changed nature. We can make disease-resistant plants, for example. What has changed today is the scale and specificity of what we do, and the cross-species transformations that we can create. I wanted to trigger a natural response to something totally artificial and began creating synthetic organisms and I placed them within a very domestic situation, showing how often truly bizarre new technologies quickly become part of our everyday life. I wanted to address the reality of the creatures themselves in a very compassionate way, and show a very beautiful image of motherhood. My interest is in our relationship to the animals and creatures we may create and the idea of evolution, and how we can now change the way evolution is going.”
“The main character in Sandman is a girl with an unfortunate but not unknown atavism, whereby she is born with vestigial gills. The film is nostalgic for an impossible love, for a space for difference that is dwindling day by day and depicts a kind of tragic determination of a character as she confronts either a doomed fate or an extraordinary transformation. - in a world where the next generation computers will have organic chips ('neurocomputing') it is perhaps not so bizarre. Sandman has many levels. However, in the final analysis, it is a story about love and desire as most of my work is”.
compile, 2006 5:00
compile is a collection of animated sequences of a computer modeled three dimensional character named AVA, a clone of human movement and emotional endeavor. She moves as humans do, but she can also defy gravity, shatter apart and still function, and go on tirelessly… that is, until someone pulls the plug. AVA was created by Kathleen Ruíz, a digital media artist who creates interactive virtual environments simulations and digital photographs that express issues about the structure of perception, behavior & interaction, and restructured reality. Ruiz is also a Professor of Electronic Arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in NY where she develops and teaches courses in digital imaging, virtual environments/3D web, cyberarts, advanced digital 3D and experimental gaming. She has exhibited in the U.S., Europe, South America and Japan and is represented by The Sandra Gering Gallery in NY. Her work has been published widely and she has received numerous awards.
In her work, Ruiz re-examines how we can use technological tools wisely to more fully express the spectrum of human capability and existence. Her focus is on the duality of the promises of technology, while also illustrating aspects of control and manipulation. Ruiz proposes that surrounding every technology are institutions promoting world views which try to alter our sense of what is important in a culture: the natural order of things, our social relationships, what is reasonable, necessary, inevitable, and ultimately what is real. The artist asks, “Can we become more aware of how we are being changed ideologically, physiologically, socially and culturally by technology? And how can individual cultures maintain their identity in the digital era, and continue to share the diverse richness they have to offer?”
Framed by Curtains, 1999, 11:19
Video artist, Eder Santos (b. Brasil 1960) creates vibrant, sensual, poetic works that merge the personal, cultural and technological to reinterpret motifs that are central to Brazil's African, indigenous and European heritage. He also explores other cultures evoking the rhythms and textures of memory and history, and the mixing of traditional values, modern taboos, emotions and relationships. Santos lives in Brazil is a founding member of Emvideo, an independent video production company. His work has been broadcast internationally, and exhibited US, Brazil, Europe.
In Framed by Curtains, Santos bases his self-described "video letter from Hong Kong" on the ambiguity of the word "frame." He refers to the picture or camera frame, as well as to the variable frame rate of digitally manipulated video, and, finally, to the act of framing as a process by which one names, describes, and in some sense colonizes, the object of perception. Images of transit -- commuters, buses, boats, subways -- stop and start, run backward, and flutter across the screen, yielding brief glimpses of a face or a gesture, as if they are being scanned for meaning. Indeed, by directly addressing the viewer through flashes of text ("Have you ever been framed?"), Santos suggests the colonial history that haunts everyday life in modern Hong Kong. Framed by Curtains shows the natural synthesis of the melding of eastern and western culture in Hong Kong - nowhere in the world do East and West meet each other as directly. The artist questions whether it is possible that West and East will ever really understand each other. Courtesy, Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), NY
MARTY ST. JAMES
Homage, 2006, 6:50
Homage is an homage to – all fedora hats, including my own --- my hat maker in the East End of London whom I have been visiting for ---twenty four years---my step-grandfather, who stepped out of his First World War helmet into his---Fedora---Rembrandt and his hat in his self portrait, which I visit as often as I can in--North London--Beuys, whose hat met mine on a number of occasions--- and to non of these things. My artistic life is about existing, ‘somewhere between the moving and the static’. The journey has taken me from the ‘rawness’ of discovering ‘open ground’ to a period of using and locating popular forms, to more recently trying to locate and inhabit the spaces between points. It has taken me many years to understand and appreciate for myself that the intelligence of ‘meaning’ is only important and useful when ‘meaningless’ is explored with intelligence. In my mind it is the role of the artist to explore this as fervently as possible.
St. James, (b. 1954, UK) considered the inventor of the video portrait, has worked primarily across performance art, video art and drawing. Exploring the physical, the electric and the pencil, as he describes it. A time based media artist straddling modernist and post-modernist times. His work locates itself between the narrative of meaning and the meaninglessness of re-assemblage. A type of visual Beckett. St. James has exhibited in leading museums in the US, Europe, Russia and Japan. He is a Professor of Fine Art at the University of Hertfordshire, UK.
Snow Angel, 1998, 9:00
This work is a mysterious dream-like image of a spiritual journey to the Ural mountains in Russia, the place where Tishkov was born in 1953, and that remains the source of his inspiration. It offer glimpses of his childhood by the snow-covered Ural mountains - the endless path to the mountaintop, handmade Christmas tree decorations, skis resting in a puddle on the floor, the warmth of the home, and the austere Soviet lifestyle. Tishkov makes a dream constructed of memories of his childhood into reality.
Leonid Tishkov, graduated from medical school in 1978 and by then was already an artist. He left medicine early on to focus on the creation of an elaborate world of characters and symbols who inhabit his stories. The artist lives in Moscow and works in different genres and media including painting, caricature, book arts, poetry, video and performance, developing traditions of absurdism and surrealism in Russian culture. His work can be compared with religious sectarians who in moments of ecstasy speak ‘in tongues. Tishkov has also created one of the most mysterious and appealing art programs in the Russian countryside, working with mentally challenged children in a boarding school. To be an artist in post-Soviet Russia means to reject both Soviet collective responsibility and "capitalist" self-promotion - a position of constant challenge. Tishov’s work is widely shown in leading museums galleries and is in permanent collections of museums in the US, Europe and Russia.
Phlegethon-Milczenie, 2005, 12:00
Polish-born, New York City based artist Monika Weiss creates environments that relate to the body and to the tension that characterizes specific relationship between biology and culture. In her drawings and multi-media installations, combined with performance and sound, Weiss explores physical properties of the act of drawing, which she combines with references to the ancient and medieval symbols and concepts of the world and the human being. In her installation series Ennoia, the artist immerses herself for several hours inside a water-filled chalice, while a projected image of the immersion and the underwater sounds mirror her action. In her ongoing series, Intervals, Weiss creates drawing landscapes, which are spaces that others may enter and fill with their own actions. Recurring motifs in her works are acts of lying down in an embryo-like position, immersions and the outlining of one's body.
“Throughout history thousands, millions of pages of esteemed thoughts and theories, were submitted to destruction. Phlegethon- Milczenie speaks of my complex relation to German culture. Books published before the Second World War – German literature and philosophy – become objects of contact with my body, as I lie quietly on them quietly drawing around my silhouette with charcoals. I juxtaposed the bird’s view of my action with views of burning fire. I combined sounds of a burning book – Goethe’s “Doctor Faustus” – with voices of Germen speakers reading fragments of poems by Paul Celan. Through the method of filming and photographing my own performances from above, the video becomes a two-dimensional universe resembling a drawing. The last part of the video includes recorded and altered voice of soprano vocalist Anthony Roth Costanzo, I combined fragments from Handel’s The Creation with Pergolesi’s Salve Regina.” Monika Weiss (b. 1964, Poland) is a renowned artist in the US and Europe and her work is in important private and museum collections.
Crazy English, 1999, 50:00
This documentary by Zhang Yuan, (b. 1963, China) follows the activities of Professor Li Yang, who, through a unique method has taught English to over 100.000 Chinese with the goal of building confidence, competitive attitude and language skills that will make it possible the country to become a super power in the 21st Century. Yang’s students shout the English words and phrases, as this physically demanding approach is a practice tool for “letting go – exteriorizing”. “The Chinese lack self esteem and have to get down to work. Crazy English is a philosophy of life that is meant to transmit a fighting spirit and a feeling of pride.” His students shout motivating slogans that are well known in China: “Never let your country down! And “I enjoy losing face! I like setbacks! I want it tough! I want to succeed! I like people looking at me! Li argues that the Chinese must assimilate the confidence of the super powers US, Europe and Japan in order for them to compete with and overtake them. “ My idea of craziness has nothing to do with madness. Being crazy means giving 100% - giving it all you’ve got. His role models are Bill Gates, Nelson Mandela and Indira Gandhi.
“I’m convinced that China’s voice is being heard more and more. My personal ideal is that it will be heard all over the world - for 300 million Chinese to speak English fluently, for Chinese culture and talent to be spread throughout the world and for 300 million foreigners to speak Chinese fluently and for Chinese culture to be its principle export. The most concrete way to show love of country is to study English well, study computer, know international practice, make enterprises internationally competitive.” He uses the Japanese invasion of China in 1937 as a reason for the Chinese to hate their weakness. “If you are strong no one will invade you. This is the best way to show your love of your country. Storms make trees make deeper roots”, Yang says. “The 21st Century is the right time for the Chinese.”
Desktop Metaphor, 2003, 3:30
Our home and office computers and hand held devices are the centers of our personal communication needs where a vast array of media converges in the form of text, graphics, video, voice, sound and live communication. The context for this work lies in the fact that computer memory has become an essential extension of our own memories and thoughts. Zlatar, a Chilean digital artist who works as a graphic designer in NY, hacked the splash pages of software that he uses, and in its place created fictional names, imagery and corporate brands portraying particular human needs that are fulfilled by the computer program. “I created a cybernetic scenario in which we connect our brain to the machine and simply download/upload memories and hopes, dreams and frustrations to the binary system, expecting feedback and the inevitable rearrangement of our thoughts. If it were actually possible, what tasks might we give the computer to do with us, for us, on us?”
Zlatar work crosses several media disciplines including graphic design, interactive installation, motion graphics, data visualization and music. His tools are advanced programming languages and design tools with which he constructs fascinating digital art projects that move in inventive and intricate patterns. Artificial intelligence is a field that is expanding and artists such as Zlatar are imagining the possibilities of how our daily patterns and perception might adapt to the technological advancements that are ahead. This suggests the possibility of a future of post human forms of existence and remodeling of the human body, mind and consciousness.
Curator, Codes of Culture – Video Art from 7 Continents
Founder, The Project Room, NY
Nina Colosi creates and presents innovative contemporary arts projects. In 2003 she founded The Project Room an international arts and education program, at Chelsea Art Museum in New York. Prior to this she created an historic new media art exhibition which was presented at the World Financial Center in NYC with leading leading curators from international museums and cultural centers, and evo1 exhibition and conferences in Moscow. Colosi received a Master of Music degree in piano performance from Manhattan School of Music and began her career as a composer/multi-disciplinary creator for which she received numerous awards and grants.
arteBA2006 conference lecturer, Collecting the New Classics: the Evolution of New Art Forms
Paulina Kolczynska is an art adviser, contemporary art specialist, fine art appraiser and curator working in Europe and US. In New York she is a freelance Appraiser for Art Dealers Association of America and a member of the New Leadership Alliance, Art Table, Appraisers Association of America and Foreign Press. Kolczynska is a writer for such publications as Art Market and Collecting – Art Index Magazine, Tema Celeste, Art & Design, London, Springer, Vienna. BBC Radio – London / New York. She has lectured at the University of Chicago, The Art Institute of Chicago, University of Copenhagen and many other institutions.
THE PROJECT ROOM.ORG is an organization that creates and supports arts and education programs in diverse locations in New York City and internationally. It was founded in 2003 by Nina Colosi at Chelsea Art Museum, NYC. The Project Room is a collaborative program that brings together international artists, curators, cultural, educational and corporate organizations. It is an incubator of new ideas, showcasing groundbreaking concepts in all art mediums, and the intersection of the arts through technology. Over 150 international emerging and established artists have been presented in exhibitions, performing arts, symposiums, meet-the-artist programs, workshops, resident new music ensembles, and the New Art Lab where artists come together to create new works. Innovative public art projects and funding models for the arts are being developed.
Programs have been made possible by FJC – A Foundation of Donor Advised Funds; British Council; Brooklyn College; Chelsea Art Museum; Consulate General of Argentina in NY; Consulate General of Israel in NY; Consulate General of Finland; Electronic Music Foundation; Experimental TV Center; Harvestworks; Juilliard School of Music; New York University; New York State Council on the Arts; Office of Cultural Affairs; Rockefeller Foundation; University of Hertfordshire, UK; Waseda University, Tokyo; Yale University. Yamaha Disklavier is the official piano of The Project Room. TheProjectRoom.org
Codes of Culture - Video Art from 7 Continents was presented at arteBA2006, sponsored by CONVERSE with additional support by:
Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam (annetgelink.com)
Electronic Arts Intermix, NYC (eai.org)
FJC – A Foundation of Donor Advised Funds (fjc.org)
Galerie Samuel Lallouz, Montreal (galeriesamuellallouz.com)
Graciela Taquini, curator, artist
Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art (hvcca.com)
Dr. Koan Baysa, curator/physician
Philadelphia College for Advanced Studies, Buenos Aires - Carlos Newland, Director; Barbara Clement, Director of International
Praxis International, Buenos Aires (praxis-art.com)
Robert Miller Gallery (robertmillergallery.com)
TV Gallery, Moscow, Nina Zaretskaya, Founding Director (tvgallery.ru)
University of Hertfordshire, UK (herts.ac.uk)
Vitamin Creative Space, Guangzhou, China (vitamincreativespace.com)
Video compilation produced by Trevor Shimizu, Electronic Arts Intermix, NY
Production Assistants in Buenos Aires: Professor Delfina Helguera and students in the Curatorial Studies program at Philadelphia
College for Advanced Studies (Colegio Superior Filadelfia)
Cover image: Copyright 2006 The Living Earth/Earth Imaging