The Screen@SAB's Fall 2018 screening program gathers artists from across the globe working in diverse moving image practices. From live signal processing using the tools of broadcast analog television, to animation, film, 3D imaging, and custom generative software - to video performance, and video as performative documentation. This program offers a glimpse into the varied paths and approaches video, performance, and moving image artists explore.
Drawing from the rich history of video and its experimental and performative origins - many artists included in this presentation straddle the past and future. A number of them fuse the conceptual and visual aesthetics of early video art and experimental film, whilst pushing the genre forward through technological and interactive experimentation. Other artists confront the lens head on - challenging the physicality of the camera as an object, and its relation to the body and environment. And still others explore narrative, or use the camera to document a unique happening.
This program has two parts. Part 1: BODY, and Part 2: ABSTRACTION
Part 1: BODY
The materiality of the body has long been a compelling avenue of research for artists. The videos included in this segment, probe the dynamic of lens and flesh - body, ritual, and narrative. They explore the sensory experience of inhabiting the body space, contemplate the body as form, and question the illusion of human separateness. Humor is often at play in these selections as the body is a funny place to be. The body and its limitations, awkwardness, sensuality, sexuality, and idiosyncrasies are exposed. Identity, and the complexities of human behavior and self inquiry are rooted in each selection. These works contribute to an ongoing conversation about our perceptions and experience of the body, and our emotional, physical, psychological, environmental, and cultural relationship to it.
Part 2: ABSTRACTION
In Jerry Saltz’s Abstract Manifesto in Twenty parts, he responds to a reader’s question, “Is abstract art for real? I mean, I often don’t really get it. Isn’t it just smudges, and stripes, and squares and stuff?” The letter was signed “Embarrassed”.
Saltz proceeds to lay out 20 statements about the function of abstraction, and what it allows artists to do. It is the first three of these statements that resonate. 1. Abstraction is one of the greatest visionary tools ever invented by human beings to imagine, decipher, and depict the world. 2. Abstraction is staggeringly radical, circumvents language, and sidesteps naming or mere description. It disenchants, re-enchants, detoxifies, destabilizes, resists closure, slows perception, and increases our grasp of the world. 3. Abstraction not only explores consciousness — it changes it.
In these abstract moving image works, artists become observers, creators and interpreters of the seen, unseen, and unexplored. Creating fresh visual experiences through improvisation, chance, and experimentation - through testing, failing, testing again, reorienting, re-patching, splicing, floundering, flustering, crashing, burning, and rising from the ashes. Venturing into unknown territory are the signifying hallmarks of the selected video and moving image works in this program.
Many thanks to all of the participating artists and to the Department of Art at UMASS, Amherst for making this presentation possible!