Curatorial Incubator v. 15, part 2: What the F**K?! Video in the Age of Sublime Uncertainty

Curatorial Incubator v. 15, part 2: What the F**K?! Video in the Age of Sublime Uncertainty

It continues! Two new programs
Bachir/Yerex Presentation Space, 401 Richmond St. West, 4th floor
Saturday, December 8, 2018, 1-5pm

Guest Mentors: Jennifer Fisher and Jim Drobnick

This year, Vtape invited Jennifer Fisher and Jim Drobnick to develop the theme for, and guest-mentor, the Curatorial Incubator. They called for curatorial proposals that reflected on the psychic and cultural shock unleashed by the political crisis in democracy. Respondents were asked to consider video’s affective power to focus attention, engage critique, forge relations, and invent ways of collective feeling that re-imagine aspiration, consolation and freedom.

Four emerging curators and curatorial teams were selected. Last Saturday, December 1, the programs of Almudena Escobar López and Masaki Kondo screened to enthusiastic audiences. This Saturday December 8, those of Mel Day and Isabelle and Sophie Lynch are screening.

The exhibition is accompanied by a publication.

Screening at Vtape on December 8, 2018, 1-3pm
Remote Preparation
Curated by Mel Day

1. Steven Eastwood, The End, 2002, 9:00
A young woman asks random strangers for directions to “the end.” The ambiguity of this question and the diversity of the responses guide the film to an unpredictable conclusion.

2. Suzanne Caines, Romance in China, 2009, 3:38
The artist instigates conversations with strangers on park benches in China using canned love lines from famous Hollywood movies. Her inability to speak or understand Mandarin leads to a series of awkward and failed connections with confused would-be suitors.

3. Jeremiah Barber, Advocate, 2013-2018, 4:25
Since 2013, the artist has been gathering footage of his attempts to mimic and return the sounds of foghorns around the Golden Gate Bridge in the San Francisco Bay. He conducts this durational work in solitude in a variety of sublime settings and weather conditions.

4. Angela Willetts, Escape Raft, 2017, 2:56
For this split-screen work, the artist constructs a raft and then sails it on the waters off San Francisco. The left screen depicts Willetts building the craft out of scavenged materials in her house. The right screen shows the voyage as the artist practices maritime flag and distress signals.

5. Zoe Leigh Hopkins, Star Wars Trash Compactor Scene, 2014, 3:13
Students from the Mohawk language immersion for adults at Onkwawenna Kentyohkwa, in Six Nations, Ontario, re-enact the famous ‘Trash Compactor’ scene from Star Wars IV: The New Hope (1977) using everyday materials, low-brow techniques and deadpan delivery.

6. Ariella Pahlke, Women Down Prospect, Final Report, 1996, 9:00
In this nested film-within-a-film, a group of women from Lower Prospect, Nova Scotia, grapple with how to write a final report for a project on women’s health. They decide to perform their findings as a video-cum-karaoke party as a way to bear witness to their experiences and work through their stress.

7. Yudi Sewraj, A Cold Night in February, 2006, 13:00
In response to a newspaper ad, an actor sits on a couch and prepares to cry for twenty minutes by listening to songs from his past. Intersecting relationships emerge between the actor, couch, spectators, and objects that have slipped between the cushions. (Originally conceived as single-channel video installation with couch.)

Mel Day is a British-Canadian interdisciplinary artist based in the San Francisco Bay area. Her curatorial, video and new media projects investigate the role of uncertainty across diverse belief systems. She has published in the Journal of Performing Arts and has recently curated Love & Longing (San Francisco) and co-curated Two Things at the Same Time (Toronto). Her artwork has been exhibited at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Grace Cathedral (San Francisco), San Francisco Film Festival, and Berkeley Art Museum. Residencies include Headlands Center for the Arts (Sausalito) and Oberpfälzer Künstlerhaus (Schwandorf, Germany). Day teaches at San José State University.


Screening at Vtape on December 8, 2018, 3-5pm
Artificial Tears
Curated by Isabelle Lynch and Sophie Lynch

1. Oliver Husain, Item Number, 2012, 16:00
Opening backstage in a dressing room, the video’s lead, played by Kirtana Kumar, prepares for an imminent performance and repeatedly reminds her viewers that the performance they are about to witness will begin in two minutes. Reality and fiction intermingle as monologues, dance numbers, and personal confessions unfold onstage and offstage.

2. Nao Bustamante, Neapolitan, 2003, 3:19 (excerpt)
In an endless loop of melodramatic spectatorship, the artist sits on a couch and sobs while watching and re-watching the final scene of the 1993 Cuban film Fresca y Chocolate. The glow of the television screen illuminates the tears streaming down her cheeks as she weeps, blows her nose, and reaches for the remote to replay the tearful finale. (originally part of an installation)

3. Kent Monkman, Mary, 2011, 3:18
The artist’s alter ego, the dazzling Miss Chief Eagle Testickle, revisits the Prince of Wales’s 1860 trip to Montreal. Referencing the biblical allegory of Mary Magdalene’s washing of Christ’s feet, Miss Chief seductively bathes the Prince’s feet with mascara-tinted tears and dries them with her glossy locks, challenging the meaning of “surrendering” within Aboriginal treaties.

4. The Holiday Movie Initiative, The Natural Life of Mermaids, 2004, 10:26
A voice-over adopting the convention of the wildlife documentary narrates the life and habits of sirens swimming in Arizona’s Lake Havasu. A park ranger describes recent sightings as the filmmakers cast themselves as mermaids who playfully swim, whisper maliciously, and paint each other’s nails along the banks of the lake.

5. Tova Mozard, The Big Scene, 2011, 32:00
In the dressing room of Stockholm’s Royal Dramatic Theatre, three generations of women – artist, mother and grandmother – apply makeup in front of a mirror. Once onstage, they sit with their backs turned to the empty theatre hall. Draped in layers of silk and lace, they share dreams, family traumas and anxieties in front of a therapist.

Isabelle Lynch is a doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania where she is specializing in contemporary time-based art. Previously, she studied art history and philosophy at McGill University and at the University of Ottawa. Isabelle has worked in curatorial departments at Presentation House Gallery (Vancouver) and at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery (Toronto). She was the co-recipient of the 2016 Middlebrook Prize for Young Canadian Curators and is currently a graduate lecturer at Philadelphia’s Institute of Contemporary Art.

Sophie Lynch is a doctoral student at the University of Chicago who is interested in film, video and performance art. Previously, she studied philosophy and art history at the University of Ottawa and at McGill University. She completed a graduate internship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and has worked at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa). She was the co-recipient of the 2016 Middlebrook Prize for Young Canadian Curators.


Image credit: Mary, by Kent Monkman (2011)