Posts Tagged ‘video art’

Everything is Terrible: Christmas Special

Published December 21, 2009 by Graham

Aren’t the holidays fun?? Take a load off with Everything is Terrible’s spade of stupendous recent videos. Colby’s Missing Memory, an instant classic, introduces us to a frighteningly intense Christian children’s program about a singing robot and his legion of suspender-sporting friends. Looking for something even more breathtakingly bizarre? Try the world’s first instructional VHS for first-time poopers, I Can Go Potty!. And for those last minute Christmas decoration tips, soak up the wisdom of The Christmas Tree Doctors, a team of state-certified experts in totally tastelessful trees.

If you haven’t seen the mesmerizing feature length DVD from Everything is Terrible yet, order before the end of January and they’re throwing in a free EIT Christmas Special DVD! Neato!

Mads Lynnerup

Published October 28, 2009 by Molly


We’d all agree that art loses something in the translation from real life to web. Paintings never look as good online as they do in real life. Drawings shrink; colors get screwy, there’s no sense of scale and what’s intended to provoke treads softly.

That said, some work translates better than others, and Mads Lynnerup’s videos––while more intense in their intended installation settings–are an experience worth catching online. The Denmark-born artist splits his time between Copenhagen and New York, and has shown work at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, at P.S.1, at the Zacheta National Gallery of Art in Warsaw and in many other places.

Check out his 2008 video Routine here.

David Kramer + Space 1520 Present: Main Street

Published October 20, 2009 by Graham


Leaping lizards! There are so many rad artists– luminaries, really– involved in the latest gallery show at L.A.’s primo promenade, Space 15 Twenty, I don’t even know where to start. Curated by Family founder David Kramer, Main Street is an exhibition of fresh video and animation from Miranda July, Jacob Ciocci, and Andrew Jeffrey Wright, to name just three. The exhibition, which opens Saturday, October 24th at 7pm, will also be released as a DVD designed by Grammy nominee Brian Roettinger. Always a perfectionist, Kramer tells us how he plans to transcend the confines of a gallery screening: “We’re building a giant box/cinema in the middle of the gallery with benches for viewing!”

The videos range from the psychedelically patterned color abstractions of Andrew Jeffrey Wright and Kris Moyes, to the documentary-style mountain biking travelogue of Andrew Sutherland. Miranda July’s meditation on tribal drumming, and Peter Sutherland’s re-enactment of a dream where teenagers wreak havoc on NYC, their minds controlled by a diabolical, smoking stone. Jacob Ciocci of Paper Rad defaces youtube videos of bedroom freak dancers with his brightly distinctive animations, while Melanie Bonajo records a deadpan conversation between two women with household items tied to their every limb. Lori D.’s cartoons focus on leering men, while Lucky Dragons focus on flower gardens.

Opening night features:
Dunes (Live show)
DJs: Rob Barber (High Places) and Brian Roettinger

Check it out this weekend if you’re in L.A., and keep your eyes peeled for more info on the DVD!


Cloud Eye Control: Under Polaris

Published October 14, 2009 by Graham


Fusing palpably transcendent video art with live performances of jaw-dropping complexity, multimedia collective Cloud Eye Control’s seductive productions are a feast for the senses and a bold step forward in the possibilities of cinema. Any surface on their stage can unexpectedly become a screen to project upon, as dancers and invisible stagehands twirl about the stage, moving around props and becoming part of the film themselves. In the pulsating center of all this dazzling chaos, Olympia, Washington expatriate Anna Oxygen provides the earth-shaking voice of Cloud Eye Control, with songs that seem to merge the alien tones of an ancient opera with highly danceable electronic pop.

Their latest performance piece, Under Polaris is being presented by the REDCAT in Los Angeles this week, through Sunday the 18th:

In their latest mix of projected animation, live theater and electronic music, Cloud Eye Control charts an epic journey across a vast arctic expanse—a sublime icebound landscape illuminated under the ethereal lights of the Northern sky. At the center of Under Polaris is the quest to preserve, inside pristine shards of ice at the top of the world, a seed containing the wealth of all human history: a back-up system for our genetic imprint and the sum total of our personal memories. En route, the story’s protagonist shape-shifts into many a mythic creature to survive the elements and, in the process, learns about the inextricable interdependence of humans and nature.

Not that epic description nor the brief video below can even begin to grasp at the radness we’re dealing with here. If you miss the chance to see Cloud Eye Control in person, I promise you’ll regret it later.

Food Party

Published October 8, 2009 by Graham


Thu Tran’s cooking show Food Party is simply eggcellent. From its humble beginnings as a video art project put together by a group of friends in Tran’s Ohio apartment to the airwaves of IFC, Food Party has only gotten crazier and more hilarious. It’s a sickeningly adorable puppet show spattered with moments of intense evil, coated with a sauce of irrational genius and deep fried in a vat of unicorn poo. Even the Grey Lady is hip to Thu Tran, for good reason– the hostess and of Food Party is a fascinating character, with a deliciously demented mind that seems to come up with brilliant ideas faster than even the rococo excesses of Food Party can accommodate. Perhaps her wild origin story can help us understand the way Tran thinks:

…Whenever [our father] would make a stew he would make us guess what animal we were eating. “It’s a goat!” “It’s a kangaroo!” “It’s a deer!” “It’s an alligator!” Normally my brothers and I would be wrong, but we didn’t care, we would eat it anyway. The weirdest thing might have been cubes of solidified pork blood, or fresh coagulated duck blood topped with its chopped innards, basil, and roasted nuts.

I didn’t realize it was weird until I would talk to my friends at school about it, and they would wrinkle their faces like ogres in total disgust. I would have to change the subject immediately to something like the kind of mousse and gel combo I had to use to make my 5th grade permed hair look lustrously wet and beautiful.

Brian Bress

Published September 17, 2009 by Graham


Watching a Brian Bress video is like going to a one man show, except instead of the show being in a theater, it’s inside the performer’s brain, and instead of a single man on stage, there are a dozen charmingly grotesque characters running and yelling and dancing and muttering sometimes hilarious nonsense with the rapturous cadence of a mentally disturbed genius.

The remnants of bygone dreams make up Bress’ universe. In the prison of unconscious fantasy we’re treated to a visually opulent revue that’s both exhausting and exhilarating. Backdrops, props, character and costume are constantly shuffling, but Bress’ endless colors and shapes are always beautifully boisterous juxtapositions. In his latest video, an epic production entitled Because It’s the Depression, he adopts the following identities: an astronaut, a boxer, a helpless child, a crafty coal miner, a polygonal creep. And golly, is it fun.

Check out that video, along with a new series of paintings and sculptures, at Culver City’s Cherry and Martin through October 24th.


Ben Aqua

Published August 31, 2009 by Graham


Photographer and video artist Ben Aqua’s work is about beguiling costumes, duplicitous environments, and charming charlatans. Photographing a wide range of brightly-colored individuals in their home environments, Aqua is at once an anthropological wild-life observer and a subversive puppetmaster. His detached sense of geometric beauty amplifies the theatricality of his subjects to the same level as his more consciously constructed and brilliantly creepy large-scale still lifes.

Check out his blog, Auquabotic, for a mouth-watering assortment of mysterious found web ephemera mixed in with the artist’s own elusive imagery.


The Books: The Videos

Published August 20, 2009 by Graham

Sound collage artists The Books have spent the past decade making music more gorgeous than the gentle waters of a summer lake. They’ve made good on the art of sampling’s boundless potential, proving that those oft-maligned tools of remixing can be used for far more than repetitive house music and hip-hop hooks.

The Books’ live shows have always been special experiences, due largely in part to the hypnotic video collages projected while they play, carefully matching torrents of found footage with the group’s ethereal tunes. In 2007, the duo released a DVD entitled Playall featuring 13 of their videos plus some weird special features, like archive footage from the ’30s of a dapper fellow emotionlessly performing “Yankee Doodle Dandy” entirely in hand-farts. Lovely stuff.

Paper Rad’s Peace Offerring

Published July 13, 2009 by Graham

Art collective Paper Rad haven’t lost their touch. It’s been a while since we’ve heard their camp, but it seems like they’re everywhere you look, now. Jacob Ciocci is currently travelling the US on his 2 Blessed 2 B Stressed Tour in support of his solo music and a new 45-minute DVD-R containing the above video, Peace Tape. Paper Rad-adjacent band Extreme Animals, who recorded the soundtrack for Peace Tape, are touring this summer as well. Fecal Face has an interview with Ben Jones, another fantastic artist in the PR orbit, that’s as intense and brutally honest as it is absurdly comical:

After having been around the artworld for a hot minute, what are yours thoughts on it? You have made fun of it time and time again, and with just cause. Where is it right now, where do you think its going?

Any really good artist, or just any happy smart person can explain quickly and simply why things like fame, or the art world, or war are essentially meaningless and then also how these things attract young stupid white kids, or people with mental problems, or classic Americans as a result of the of these populations having low consciousness and/or intelligence. If you really are into the art world or TMZ or the Taliband it means you have a type of retardation.

But at the same time, since these populations have such a predictable and simplistic understanding of life, I think it is okay to inject good ideas and good energy into these retarded systems, so that we can help evolve the universe. And to do this you have to sometimes wear the right kind of shoes or try to think up clever answers to questions I guess. I don’t know, I think the next big thing in the art world is going to be The Beastie Boys.


What has been greatly inspiring/uninspiring to you?

Love, jogging, Pantera, punching the air or bushes, yelling at a cat on the street “why are you looking me!” then coming home and cooking some baked beans and listening to the Adam Carolla podcast and then being like, hmmm,…search…depression…hmmmmm oh look its 3 am, time to “go to bed”.



Brad Troemel Goes Jogging

Published July 10, 2009 by Graham


Once upon a time, Brad Troemel was an acclaimed young Chicago photographer who maintained a personal website full of clever and visually striking images organized in the typical portfolio way. He also ran an incomparably shrewd and culturally attuned blog on the side, full of funny and sad musings on art, sharp interviews with his heroes and contemporaries, and best of all, grotesquely marvelous found photos and video culled from depressing MySpace pages and party-photo sites for all ages Miami night clubs. Both of those sites are now gone.

Troemel’s new home on the information superhighway is an collective Tumblr page called Jogging. It’s not completely clear who else is the group, and that seems to be how Troemel likes it. Rather than producing artwork in the format of tidy projects to be archived on individual artists’ static websites, Jogging’s ephemeral and anonymous format enables Troemel and his conspirator(s) to create an endless stream of new material updated regularly– freeing them from consciously curating their own work. It also allows the artists to explore different mediums without forcing them to adhere to specific labels. For instance, a photogaph of a banana resting precariously on a rusty nail can be an “installation,” while an image of a potato suspended from a wall by a band-aid can be a “sculpture.” There’s a tounge-in-cheek commentary on the conceits and expectations of contemporary art running throughout the work on Jogging, and it’s that sense of humor that allows Troemel to transcend the formal seriousness the blog’s artwork seem to be founded upon.


In spite of Troemel’s somewhat convoluted concept (see: the only statement of any kind on the site, an erudite interview with Troemel conducted by fellow Vice magazine shooter Maciek Pozoga), the work itself is indelibly fun. Who doesn’t like to see the unsettling texture of Gogurt out of its ordinary context? Who isn’t curious to read a full-length spec script for a brand new episode of Friends? I especially like the solemnly methodical video pieces on Jogging, like the conspicuously unreal eleven-second wonder A Renewed Interest in Craft: I Make a Basketball Shot, and Fountain, Rain, Sprinkler, in which we are treated to 41 seconds of a fountain and a sprinkler wasting gallons of water on an anonymous vast and well-manicured lawn during a rainstorm. Check out Untitled, a brief yet endearing video of a “performance” Troemel enacts on a slow day at the mall.