Grim New World
[a video screening for the impending collapse]
conspired by Nothing To See Here [Christina Battle + Adán De La Garza]
Sunday, December 21, 2014 – 7pm doors, 7.30pm screening [real time not punk time]
8 bucks or Pay What You Can
Think Tank [1301 S 6th Ave Suite 133, Tucson, Arizona]
From futuristic warnings about humanity’s current path to deconstructions of the human psyche, works in Grim New World navigate the terrain leading toward the end of society.
*All descriptions courtesy of the artists unless otherwise noted.
Here Is Everything – Emily Vey Duke and Cooper Battersby – 13.55 mins – 2013
Here Is Everything presents itself as a message from The Future, as narrated by a cat and a rabbit, spirit guides who explain that they’ve decided to speak to us via a contemporary art video because they understand this to be our highest form of communication. Their cheeky introduction, however, belies the complex set of ideas that fill the remainder of the film. Death, God, and attaining and maintaining a state of Grace are among the thematic strokes winding their way through the piece, rapturously illustrated with animation, still and video imagery. It is a work that contains specific details about its themes, but sufficiently ambiguous and free of dogma, including religious dogma that, our futuristic visitors explain, is a vestigial leftover from an earlier phase of evolution. And while Death is an ever-present rumination, so are Redemption, Affirmation, and Possibility.
Kempinski – Neïl Beloufa – 13.58 mins – 2007
Kempinski is a mystical and animist place. People emerge from the dark, holding fluorescent lamps; they speak about a magical world. “Today we have a space station. We will launch space ships and a few satellites soon that will allow us to have much more information about the other stations and other stars.” Their testimonies spark confusion and contradiction: a second reading is necessary to fully understand what is going on in this unique blend of fiction (sci-fi) and ‘real’ documentary. The scenario of Kempinski, filmed in various towns in Mali, is defined by specific rules: interviewed people imagine the future and speak about it in the present tense. Their hopeful, poetic and spiritual stories and fantasies are recorded and edited in a melodc way; Kempinski thus cleverly challenges our exotic expectations and stereotypes about Africa.
five states of freedom [number 3] – Christina Battle & Adán De La Garza – 2.10 mins – 2014
Shot at Titan 1 Missile Silo [2b] outside of Denver, Colorado, which once contained three underground launch sites for intercontinental ballistic missiles carrying nuclear warheads. Readied for launch during the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, the site was ultimately abandoned in 1965.
Part of an ongoing multi-media installation five states of freedom: Shot at various active and abandoned military installations in the United States, five states of freedom consists of a series of videos actively seeking out landscapes with histories of missile-based military presence. Focusing on visualizations of the residue of the military-industrial complex upon the environment, five states of freedom is an ongoing project.
Soldiers in Their Youth – David Oresick – 20 mins – 2009
Looking at a very different period of war and turning to found materials originally made public on the internet, artist David Oresick (American, b. 1984) discovered a poignant entry point into the personal experiences of American soldiers deployed to Iraq—amateur videos posted to YouTube by soldiers and members of their families. Oresick’s video bombards the viewer with a great variety of appropriated and edited clips, such as soldiers pulling pranks on each other, singing obscene lyrics, and visceral footage made during combat, which he intersperses with blank, white spaces of time to allow for contemplation. By making editorial selections from a seemingly endless archive of materials available through the web, then cutting, combining, and perhaps most significantly, changing the context in which the videos are viewed, Oresick has created a raw, poetic view of contemporary war. Because Oresick is not a veteran and does not have firsthand experience of the war in Iraq, Soldiers in their Youth also situates war as a distanced act that enters the lives of many American citizens through imagery and report- age. In this way, the personal posts on YouTube can serve as a counterpoint to mass media portrayals of war. His video raises questions about the American involvement in Iraq and illustrates the toll of war by portraying the soldiers as complex men and women, who are at once, in the words of Oresick “naive and wise, frightened and brave, crude and compassionate.” – Natasha Egan from the Museum of Contemporary photography
The Drowning Room – Reynold Reynolds and Patrick Jolley – 10 mins – 2000
“A sequence of domestic vignettes from the sunken suburbs. In the house, the stagnant atmosphere has slowly thickened to liquid. The inhabitants try to carry on as normal but beyond the borders of asphyxiation, communication is limited and expression difficult. Filmed entirely underwater in a submerged house to create an atmosphere unlike any other film.”
In classic film melodrama, the characters’ powerful, deep-seated, and usually unacknowledged emotions are often displaced onto aspects of the mise-en-scène, not unlike the condensation and displacement of meaning that occur with dream symbols and figures of speech. In Reynold Reynolds and Patrick Jolley’s black-and-white film The Drowning Room (An Underwater Soap Opera), a seemingly ordinary family is seen going about its daily business in a house that is completely filled with water. The family members, either refusing to notice this fact or simply taking it in stride, continue their activities as best they can: shoveling their fish dinner into their mouths as tiny food particles waft around their faces like plankton, reading waterlogged newspapers, and petting their suspiciously stiff-limbed cat as if all this were perfectly normal. They seem to exist in a state of suspended animation, perhaps thinking that if they pretend the water isn’t there, it won’t drown them. When viewed in the context of recent global events, the family’s domestic isolation can be seen as a metaphor for political isolationism and a willful disconnection from the events of the world outside.
“The Drowning Room, by Reynold Reynolds and Patrick Jolley, is a lush fantasy of underwater life, in which mundane moments are transformed into dynamic poetry.” – Sundance Film Festival 2000
It’s Been This Way From The Start – Christina Battle & Adán De La Garza – 2 mins – 2014
the sea will be poisoned. money will be useless. there will be unpunished murder in the streets. [from Charles Bukowski’s Dinosauria We (1992)]
Aranjuez – Gonzalo Lebrija – 4.03 mins – 2002
As in many other cities in the world, football fans in Guadalajara celebrate their teams’ victories in some symbolic public site in the city. The event in this video, Aranjuez, took place after Mexico and Italy tied in the 2002 World Cup in Japan.
The video shows the moments in which some girls, caught off-guard and alone, were sexually assulted by a crowd of men exited by the collective euphoria during the celebration of a football victory. The soundtrack is the Conceierto de Aranjuez, which, as it is interpreted by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, transforms the drama –reminiscent of Goya’s paintings of the bullfithing festivals- into a celebration of an atrocious street ritual.
Using violent imagery culled from from YouTube, mainstream movies, television and other sources, Brown confronts the viewer with a rapid-fire mashed-up barrage of the worst that our so-called civilization has to offer. From homemade night-scope videos of “recreational” gunplay to news footage of bombings in Iraq, it’s all here—and it’s all disturbing. An aggressive electronic soundtrack underlines the effect, while related print materials argue that the work speaks to Baudrillard’s theories on “violence done to the image” through technological manipulation. – Canadian Art Magazine [posted OCTOBER 16, 2008]