EXPO VIDEO 2014 was presented in Navy Pier’s Festival Hall on viewing stations designed by Studio Gang Architects. Curated by Astria Suparak, the 2014 program was divided into three reels of work. In addition to three stations displaying the work of selected artists from the exhibiting galleries, the program features a fourth station featuring the best of Columbia College student video work.
Suparak is the curator of the nationally acclaimed touring exhibition Alien She, and was formerly the director and curator of Carnegie Mellon’s Miller Gallery. Presented in partnership with Columbia College.
Nine videos were selected from submissions from over 140 international exhibiting galleries. Artists Skip Arnold, Eric Fleischauer and Jason Lazarus exploit the language of pop culture, with hilarious results. Takeshi Murata and Alyson Shotz build eerie, minimalist worlds seething with suspense. John Akomfrah, Adam Magyar, Jennifer Reeder, and Michael Robinson create quasi sociological videos, each revealing something poignant about our culture.
John Akomfrah | Carroll / Fletcher, London
Skip Arnold | Greene Exhibitions, Los Angeles
Eric Fleischauer and Jason Lazarus | Andrew Rafacz, Chicago
Adam Magyar | Julie Saul Gallery, New York
Takeshi Murata | Salon 94, New York
Jennifer Reeder | Andrew Rafacz, Chicago
Michael Robinson | Carrie Secrist Gallery, Chicago
Alyson Shotz | Carolina Nitsch, New York
Columbia College Chicago Film/Video Student Winners:
Takeshi Murata and Alyson Shotz create eerie, minimalist worlds seething with suspense. In Shotz’s abstract digital animation Fluid State, an ocean of metallic orbs crests and becomes airborne in finely-spun, dewey threads over the course of a quick day/night cycle, condensing back down into dark waves. Murata’s fantasy thriller, OM Rider, follows a badass werewolf musician who inexplicably tangles with a glaring old man in a canary yellow suit. OM Rider is flush with impending doom, strange humor, and surprising edits. Both videos exist in the thin atmosphere of computer-generated animation that is at turns hyper-real and disquietingly awkward.
1. Alyson Shotz - Fluid State
2. Takeshi Murata - OM Rider
These videos exploit the language of pop culture, with hilarious results. Skip Arnold’s two videos from 1984 were made for the short timeslot of a television commercial, maximizing each of his performance’s impact with disciplined distillation and comic timing that was sure to disrupt the TV viewer’s experience. Jason Lazarus and Eric Fleischauer’s twohundredfiftysixcolors (preface) consists entirely of animated GIFs. Starting with deeply familiar GIFs related to time, including quotidian signifiers of programs loading and launching on digital devices, to digital animations of proto-cinema’s analog images, to related spinoffs, memes, art and film jokes, and art GIFs, the video charts the evolution of the form. A generation apart, with Fleischauer and Lazarus younger than Arnold, the artists reflect on their present moments and deeply engage with their respective mediums and the creative possibilities within them.
1. Skip Arnold - Hello Goodbye, from the series Activities Made For TV
2. Jason Lazarus and Eric Fleischauer - twohundredfiftysixcolors (Preface)
3. Skip Arnold - Punch, from the series Activities Made For TV
These quasi sociological videos evince the banal reality of subway riders, the artifice of soap opera archetypes, a revelation within a well-trodden history, and a utopia of feminist teenagers. For Stainless, Adam Magyar uses a customized high-speed video camera to capture a brief moment in the world’s busiest transport hub. By slowing down the footage, we see unsuspecting commuters of all ages suspended in time and lost in private moments in public - listening to music, checking their phones, reading books, chatting with lovers, curling eyelashes and scratching noses - many staring blankly into space. This is an involuntary group portrait, capturing the transient fashion, technology, and body language of a large swath of people in one place at one time, on the Shinjuku Station platform in Tokyo. John Akomfrah’s Peripeteia reinserts the presence of black people into the white-washed history of Europe, the Renaissance, Western art, and the countryside. Akomfrah takes drawings by the 16th century German artist Albrecht Dürer as starting points for this quiet and gorgeous rumination. In Michael Robinson’s The Dark, Krystle, footage from the 1980s hit show Dynasty is heavily edited into a new dramatic arc, focusing on two lead characters and their repeated gestures: Krystle, a helpless blonde with puppy-dog eyes, awash in self-doubt, worry, sadness, and fear; and archly browed, scheming brunette Alexis, who endlessly swigs white wine in triumph and self-satisfaction. It’s also a delightful showcase of glamorous, bourgeois 80s fashion, with heavily rouged and bejeweled women parading in pleated silks, oversized ruffles, ostentatious furs, monochrome jumpsuits, and ever-present shoulder pads. Cliched female tropes become complicated in Jennifer Reeder’s A Million Miles Away, an alternate world of racially diverse and intersectional feminist girls. Set in the present-day Midwest and rife with pop cultural and literary references and feminist jokes, the precocious girls, who whisper to each other about manifestos and protests during choir class, unexpectedly comfort a melancholic substitute teacher. These four works range from black and white realism, to speculative enactment of history, to Hollywood illusion, to personal fantasy, each revealing something poignant about our culture.
1. Adam Magyar - Stainless, Shinjuku
2. John Akomfrah - Peripeteia
3. Michael Robinson - The Dark, Krystle
4. Jennifer Reeder - A Million Miles Away
Top Image Credit: John Akomfrah, Still from Peripeteia, 2012
Middle Image Credit: Michael Robinson, The Dark, Krystle, 2013
Bottom Image Credit: Adam Magyar, Still from Stainless, Shinjuku, 2014
Columbia College Chicago Film/Video Student Winners:
This year a 4th station has been added to EXPO VIDEO to showcase the best of Columbia College student film and video work. These four works were selected by Suparak from faculty and staff nominations. The student winners are BJ Allen, MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts & Media ’16, Ahmed Hamad, MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts & Media ’14, Bret Hamilton, BA in Cinema Arts and Science ’15, and Eli Vazquez, BA in Cinema Arts and Science ’14.
Organized by Neysa Page-Lieberman, Director and Curator, Department of Exhibitions at Columbia College Chicago. Winning students nominated by Adam Brooks, Paul Catanese, Ramona Gupta and Mary Novak.
1. BJ Allen - Here Not Here, There Not There, 2013 - 5:39
2. Bret Hamilton - Love and Capitalism, 2014 - 9:01
3. Ahmed Hamad - I Left Gaza, But Gaza Never Left Me, 2014 - 4:26
4. Eli Vazquez - Aboriginal, 2013 - 5:23
Astria Suparak has curated exhibitions, screenings, live music events and performances for art spaces and film festivals internationally, as well as for non-art spaces such as roller-skating rinks, sports bars, rock clubs, and ferries. Her internationally touring exhibitions include Keep It Slick: Infiltrating Capitalism with The Yes Men, the first solo exhibition of the renowned culture-jamming group, and the nationally acclaimed exhibition Alien She, on the lasting impact of the global punk feminist movement Riot Grrrl.