This performance quotes from two cultural sources that were first presented to the world in 1969: Sol Lewitt's "Sentences on Conceptual Art" and Jimi Hendrix's "Star Spangled Banner" rendition from Woodstock concert. Each came to define its own distinct territory within a greater set of American and global cultural activities. Set against the backdrop of Vietnam War and counter-culture movement in USA, both manifestos acted as transgressive activities but over the years have been internalized into their respective fields of practice, essentially becoming right-of-passage events. By bringing together these seemingly incongruent narratives into a singles performance event, we attempt to give the audience members a space to consider the works within their original historical narrative.
Merry-go-round in a suburban American mall presents a parade of businesses, logos, shoppers and other elements of retail experience.
approx. 7ft X 3ft X 3ft
It is absolutely amazing that a system of global exchange can be based on a desire for a bright, yellowish, glittering metal. Gold is valuable, but its value does not originate in the realm of economics. It is beautiful, pretty, shinny and a whole list of other "fuzzy" adjectives. Until very recently gold was the cornerstone of the world financial exchange and is still used as a hedge against inflation. In short, the most vital quantitative system on the planet (finance) has at its core a qualitative value judgment.
Gold (ISO code XAU) provides a perfect foil for talking about the idea of beauty and value of aesthetic judgment. In some ways it is a reflection of the system that sends the values of art (read aesthetically relevant) objects sky high. In other ways it is an embodiment of the "purest of beauties." That is, unlike artworks, it is least likely to be an object of speculative pricing; there are several international agreements to assure us that this will not happen. In this way we prop up our decision, care for it, and try to make sure that it is never questioned.
I choose to look at this process as a highly complex durational performance. This act is mirrored in "The Erotic Life of XAU" one gram of gold is levitated using a helium balloon. For the work to stay afloat and functioning, the balloon has to be refilled by the gallery staff for the entire duration of the show.
"Anatomies and Other Rituals of Separation" is a circular space constructed out of twelve balloons, inflated and held closed by medical hemostats. The work is a playful meditation on systems of viewing and perhaps, systems of beliefs, which surround the act of interpreting visual experiences.
John Cage's "4minutes 33 seconds" is an iconic piece of 20th century avant-garde music. I was amazed to find quite a variety of performances of the work on YouTube: many complementary, many created as complete spoofs. Needless to say, translation to video is somewhat problematic but perhaps, speaks to larger cultural trends.
I take the slippages in interpretation, visual puns (both questionable and playful), combative rhetoric, video glitches and variety of other artifacts and reflow them into a process, which aims to interrogate the contemporary cultural implications of Gage's work.
The final product is a live video remix (no audio) of the content found on YouTube via a custom 12-channel software mixer. True to the spirit of the "original", it lasts 273 seconds.
"the wheel" is composed of video footage shot from a rotating Ferris wheel in Toyama Prefecture, Japan. It documents one complete rotation (one take, no editing or overdubs).
Preview version is approximately four minutes. For full (17min) documentation of the performance please follow this external link
A large, painting-like rectangular structure extends approximately 5 feet high by 12 feet across. It is created using several hundred snapshot format photos (4"X6") of what appears to be images of stars set against the black of the night sky. The images are in fact generated by a computer script: randomly placed, randomly sized dots with a little bit of blur on black background. The photos are attached to the wall using hundreds of dressmakers pins, at once complementing the overall image and calling attention to its artificial construction.
MySpace is notorious for its users' runaway designs. I want to blame everything that is wrong with my world on the over-sexualized, over-saturated, syrupy, preachy, cheesy, vulgar, loud, stupid clutter that I am looking at! Yet, I can not dismiss the sheer energy of what is in front of me. I am in awe of the vitality of the whole enterprise, amazed my its richness of possibilities!
"requiem?requiem" is a meditation on this visual space. It is generated from browser window captures from a variety of MySpace pages and strung together by custom software. Flickering by the viewer at speeds almost too fast for the human eye, they are set to a soundtrack which is a mixture of an ominous, slowed-down horn section and banal takes on hip hop and rock tracks. It is a way for me to probe the visual language that I encounter and I way for me to understand my own reactions to it.
Each work in the series consists of three identical books that deal with a particular artworld topic. The process of cutting into the books becomes a reductive collage that operates within the branded space of a specific thematic or packaging strategy.
The work is "packaged" in a 10 step set of nonsensical directions generated by a fictional company. The directions explain how to create a sound experience of a forest. I begin the work with a performance in front of an audience on the first day of the show (approximately 15 min.) I read each step and perform the sounds associated with it. The vocals are recorded using a custom software sampler designed for simultaneous multi-channel playback. All the samples are looped, so audio from each step builds on the previous ones until a full forest soundscape emerges. The sounds are played back through ten speakers distributed throughout the gallery space. The speakers are attached to the hardware setup by a series of vine-like chords that complete the forest reference.
After the performance is over, the sounds continue looping for the duration of the exhibition. Video of the performance is added to complete the viewer experience of the work.
For full (17min) documentation of the performance please follow this external link
Note: This piece is often presented in performance-only mode, mixed for 2 and 4 channel sound systems.
Katsushika Hokusai's series "Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji" is very much a part of the global art canon. The fact that there are actually 46 prints in the series is often forgotten.
"36 views" is a piece of custom software that picks a random work from a 6 by 6 matrix on the screen and swaps it out with one of the 10 "invisible" works. This process is looped. It represents an attempt to fit all 46 pieces into the 36 places allowed for them in the art world.
"Departure" is an exploration of a curious intersection of airplane passengers' and movie audience members' experiences. Both promise a journey to a viewer/passenger: a journey of the mind that involves immobilization of the body. We fasten our seat-belts waiting for the departure from the everyday.
This work is based on pre-flight videos recorded on an intercontinental commercial flight.
single-channel video software::2007
The digital landscapes in "Surface.Tension." series are attemps to explore conventions of representation. Specifically, they deal with the idea of "sublime" and its relation to the landscape, which quickly developed into a formalized way of composing a canvas and a formalized way of reading a composition. I choose to view the overwhelming amount of data flowing through various digital networks (pointed to in this context by commercial advertisements) constitutes a new type of "sublime" experience. It is a dimension that is entirely human-made and it is pushing against a shell of any metaphor that we try encapsulate it in.
This performance piece explores the common perceptions of "East" and "West". I chant top 10 asian brands (as listed by www.brandingasia.com) using extended vocal techniques reminiscent of both Tibetan Buddhist practices and Tuvan throat singing. I view this performance as a chance to possibly question the binary opposition, which all too often defines our worldview.
special thanks Amparo Zacarias
The (In)Security Camera is a robotic surveillance camera with advanced computer-vision software that can track, zoom, and follow subjects walking through its field of view. Deploying sophisticated artificial intelligence algorithms in use today by the U.S. military and Homeland Security forces, it can assess threat levels in real time and respond accordingly.
However, the camera is, in fact, a little insecure. Easily startled by sudden movements, it is shy around strangers and tends to avoid direct eye contact. This reversal of the relationship between the surveillance system and its subjects gives the machine an element of human personality and fallibility that is by turns endearing, tragic, and slightly disturbing.