Ritual and Repetition


Hans Gindlesberger
March 1, 2007, 12:25 am
Filed under: Ritual and Repetition

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I’m in the Wrong Film, 2006
2:38 min excerpt – Full Running Time 10 mins
Hans Gindlesberger – Buffalo New York

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I’m in the Wrong Film is a body of work composed of a series of staged tableaus that interrogate the small town. Presented as a non-linear narrative, these photographic stills and moving images explore identity, memory, place, and the loss of belonging by probing the psychology of a transient character as he is inserted within a variety of constructed environments with which he must interact. This process references the theatre as well as silent film and places the otherwise realistic images at the threshold of a dreamlike space. The techniques employed in synthesizing the images are intentionally left ambiguous. While presenting themselves on the surface as truthful documents, each construction finds a way to falter and show its seams. This disruption of reality is an acknowledgement of the simulated space of the small town. Therefore, the actions of the character within this environment serve as a catalyst for the viewer to think about their engagement with the space around them.

As a result of its neglect or inability to modernize the American small town has fallen victim to economic decline. This decline leaves vacancies that can be seen physically in boarded up windows on Main Street as well as felt psychologically as the town is forced to consider its declining relevance in contemporary society. The community’s sense that it no longer belongs is, in turn, instilled in the people that live there. Consumed by uncertainty about their future, small towns often rush to embrace a nostalgic image of an idealized past with the intent of using it to return to economic viability. However, in imagining themselves as a mythical image that cannot be realized, these towns become simulated spaces. It is within this simulated space that this work explores the impact of home on individual identity. By probing the psychology of a wandering character as he engages a staged photographic environment the interconnectedness of identities of people and place is made apparent. The body of work is composed of self-contained narrative images that imply a cohesiveness that is never realized. Many of these images document a moment of epiphany for the character in which he is presented with an opportunity to make a decision. This repeated emphasis on the will of the character and the absence of decisive action in the midst of an indifferent, ambiguous universe renders these situations absurd.

In his aimlessness the character is a product of the changing relationship of the small town to mass society. Through the observance of his actions we can interrogate contemporary concerns about identity, authenticity, and the loss of belonging in our own homes. Repeatedly viewing these images places the viewer in the same ambiguous, uncertain position as the wandering protagonist. These photographic simulations seduce the viewer into accepting their artifice as natural. Therefore, as the actions of the character disrupt his environment the images serve as a catalyst for the viewer to consider their own sense of place.

www.gindlesberger.com



Colette Copeland
March 1, 2007, 12:24 am
Filed under: Ritual and Repetition

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Crow’s Tale, 2004
3:50 mins
Colette Copeland – Media Pennsylvania

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The work explores the issue of memory on both a personal and collective level, as it relates to race, identity, and cultural heritage. Drawing from childhood memories, the video contemplates the legacy of prejudice, questioning the family and cultural inferitance and its impact on the individual. The manipulation of time, motion and space calls into question the veracity of memory and the construction of narrative.

www.colettecopeland.com



Arzu Ozkal Telhan
March 1, 2007, 12:23 am
Filed under: Ritual and Repetition

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Nothingness, 2005
2:55 mins
Arzu Ozkal Telhan – Cambridge Massachusetts

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Culture inscribes its mark in bold letters affirming “human” on the surface of the body at the first moment of “being.” After being entitled as “human,” one would notice the vocabulary to define “human” is limited only to dichotomies: male/female, good/bad, pretty/ugly, us/them …

I don’t think that I ever sought for a definition of my human being until I left my native country – Turkey – four years ago. I had never thought that language, which holds the connection between mind and object, introduces the individual to the collective voice and vocabulary, fastens the codified norms of the society, and imposes them on the individual. I believe the major advantage of being away from my native country is to provide emancipation, or a distance, from my previous life and indoctrinated values. This emancipation is helping me to become conscious of the borders and limits that I was setting into my life, in addition to the ones that were being set for me by my social environment. I have realized that this freeing was also a temporary one and ended as soon as I had to attend a western identity, which I have been introduced by my present milieu.

My practice can be grouped under the interpretation of body and its relationship to its environment. I make attempts to emancipate the body from social and cultural norms and try to suggest ways to distance one from the limits imposed on the society by totalitarian establishments. I believe that even temporary emancipations can help us be aware of the limits forced on us by the regimes of society. I appear in unfamiliar places where supposedly “I do not belong” according to the tradition, laws or patriarchal value systems. It is very important for me and for my work to be informed by other people: friends and artists, as well as strangers I meet on the street. My work emerges from temporary encounters and used what is already available in the everyday.

www.contrary.info



Louise Noguchi
March 1, 2007, 12:22 am
Filed under: Ritual and Repetition

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Crack, 2000
2:30 mins
Louise Noguchi – Toronto Ontario Canada

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For the past few years, I have been creating a series of work entitled The Language of the Rope based on my research and lessons in “wild west” performance skills. Wild west acts are influential precursors to the modern day rodeo. They were first begun by William Cody (legendary for his embellished exploits and an important figure in the construction of the mythology of the west) as a North American form of entertainment to rival the violent spectacles of skill and bravery of traditional European circus acts. My interest in this form of entertainment is to chronicle a nebulous world wherein – real and unreal – past and present – fact and fiction – violent and farcical are conjoined.

In learning to perform wild-west skills, I wasn’t interested in becoming a cowboy. I was instead interested in the spectacle of wild-west entertainment, of the many things that people have called “tricks” which are really skills that take considerable repetition and mastery to perform. In my videos I try to show footage, close to seeing it frame by frame, (making similar to photography), I am interested in what some say photography does best – that is its ability or amaze its audience.

One example of this is Crack, a ritualistic video that mixes eastern culture with cowboy western entertainment using a bullwhip. The resulting blend, shifts the traditional North American meaning of this form of activity, from a display of history, amusement and skill, to that of ritual, meditation and chance.

www.louisenoguchi.com



Magsamen – Hillerbrand
March 1, 2007, 12:21 am
Filed under: Ritual and Repetition

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Coffee & Milk, 2005
2:45 mins
Mary Magsamen & Stephan Hillerbrand – Houston Texas

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Coffee & Milk is an experimental video that explores communication and sexuality through the metaphor of everyday items, coffee, milk and children’s music. In Coffee & Milk our lives are transformed into something cinematic and larger than life. Images of Stephan blowing milk into coffee and Mary blowing coffee into milk are given an unexpected point of view because the camera is placed underneath them. The images reference both galactic and microscope images of something biological. This pseudo-scientific images provide the viewer with a window to see a personal and intimate moment frozen in time that eventually leads back to larger universal questions of communication between us as a couple. This communication is interrupted by the incessant call for attention from our daughter, which is represented through the repeated sampling of a song titled Water Dance by Raffi, the quintessential children’s musician.

Coffee & Milk addresses repetition through the physical repetition of altering images and resampled sounds. The images and sounds are constantly switching back and forth, repeating in a non-narrative manner. It addresses ritual through its originating idea of that everyday cup of coffee – the first daily ritual act in many people’s lives.

www.maryandstephan.com



Bernie Roddy
March 1, 2007, 12:20 am
Filed under: Ritual and Repetition

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The Great Confinement, 2004
2:45 min excerpt – Full Running Time 9:15
Bernie Roddy – Chicago Illinois

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The Great Confinement (9:15, 2004) was made during a period in which I was living in Texas and often on the road with my friend Beatriz Flores Gutierrez. We used to drive between Northern Texas and Mexico City, along the Mexico-U.S. border, and to film festivals in Austin and Hot Springs. During this time I had a doomsday outlook on life and lived as if I had no future. The excerpt here collects together public expressions of my sense of internal imprisonment, a feeling resulting from what I was learning about the prison industry, capital punishment and immigration. The work was shot on VHS and transferred to digital video editing. At this time I was also reading Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punishment, teaching philosophy, and sensing various ways in which teaching tends to produce docile, efficient workers. In the excerpt there are a couple lines of audio. In one of them I am reflecting on one of our road trips to the border to provide medical aid to migrants crossing by foot. Altar is the Mexican town where many begin their passage north. The full video records a drive between Texas and California through truly incredible country. We took many hikes and detours. In the way, this was an effort to an express solidarity with individuals in prisons other than those constructed for the mind, an expression made manifest in the desert, on the open road, without respect for discipline.



Clifford Borress
March 1, 2007, 12:19 am
Filed under: Ritual and Repetition

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Untitled (red and green), 2006
4:59 min excerpt – Full Running Time 15 mins
Clifford Borress – Brooklyn New York

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Lets add three more R’s to the three we associate with schooling. Ritual, repetition and performativity are inherent practices within the process of learning and cognition. Our experience of change is inherent in anything we remember. When interacting with a learning model, a student’s space is a vacuum, an extreme focus to the directive; what the model is supposed to illustrate. Many elements become overlooked. To understand a concept, we sacrifice autonomy of an experience. This video piece switches the alter of classroom which normally dawns this subject, with that of the art space.