Purified by Fire
, 2006
Multi-channel video/audio installation:


Using the language and iconography of cinema as building blocks, Purified by Fire constructs an anti-mythic framework from which to reexamine social attitudes towards war, violence and morality.

Comprised of seamless video loops constructed from just a few seconds of iconic cinematic imagery and commercially available special effect stock footage, the individual works in the exhibition challenge the physical and moral gap that separates Westerners, and specifically Americans, from war and destruction.

Expanding on the artist’s previous investigations of Cinema as mythology, the work examines the mythos underlying an American mindset which demonizes foes, sanctions oppression, elevates militarism to a national value and facilitates a distinctly American notion of regeneration through violence.


Purified by Fire, 2006
Multi-channel video projection on
gallery windows,
created from
commercially available special-effects
stock footage


Continous loop



Purified by Fire, 2006
Composite installation view


Purified by Fire (Perpetual Explosion), 2006
Color video projection with audio,
(sound: Henry Flynt, Purified by the
Fire, 1983)

Continuous loop created from
commercially available special-effects
stock footage

Left: Purified by Fire (Trench), 2006
Color video with audio on LCD monitor,
Continuous loop

Right: Purified by Fire (Bunker), 2006
Color video with audio on LCD monitor,
Continuous loop

Scenes from Stanley Kubrick's Vietnam War film Full Metal Jacket were reconstructed as seamless loops, picturing both sides of the conflict scanning the same burning cityscape (from different points of view) . These scenes, representing Vietnam, filmed on the outskirts of London, and resembling real everyday images from present-day Iraq, create a matrix of myth and history. In this reconstructed cityscape, the smoldering structures become eternal flames and military conflict is reconsidered as a single historical continuum.

These scenes are transposed, via window-projections, onto the physical cityscape in Purified by Fire (pictured in the first post).
video

Purified By Fire, 2006
Video documentation and clips

Purified By Fire, 2006
Video projections on cargo van windows
Installation view at PhotoMiami, Dec. 2007

The Desert Loops, 2005
4-channel video/audio installation,
color video w/ Dolby 5.1 Surround
audio on DVD, projectors, LCD screen
Running time: (4) Continuous loops

The Desert Loops re-visions footage from classic desert war films, focusing on the desert landscapes which form the backdrops for war and empire past and present.

Utilizing twenty-eight seconds of media, seamlessly looped on three projections and one LCD flat-panel monitor, the work borrows from several classic films where the desert landscape doubles as military theater for conflicts including World Wars 1 and 2. The films are sampled and modified (in some cases frame-by-frame) to rebuild the cracked, windswept landscapes resulting in the hypnotic and elegiac Desert Loops. The narrative context, romance and mythology of the original films are discarded in favor of both literal and allegorical presentation--and a clear allusion to the current conflicts in the Middle East.

Presented as a series of video loops picturing a stark, ominous and desolate landscape, The Desert Loops create a space for contemplation of conflict and history, while deconstructing Cinematic conventions and modes of representation.

The Desert Loops, 2005
Composite installation view
video

The Desert Loops, 2005
Video documentation and clips
Cosmic Microwave Background with New Humans, or
Interstellar Communication Breakdown, 2005
In collaboration with New Humans
multi-channel video/audio installation with live performance,
LCD projector, monitors, reflective mylar

Cosmic Microwave Background...was produced in collaboration with Brooklyn-based sound/installation artists New Humans for performances at Apexart and PS1 Contemporary Art Center (NYC).

The installation and performance creates an immersive environment sculpted from white noise and manipulated television static. Using a variety of electronically manipulated instruments, New Humans create a continuously undulating wall of sound inspired by radio static and television noise--familiar sounds that result from the emanation of microwave radiation permeating the Cosmos. Videos simultaneously play on stacked monitors and projections, all reflected in a silver mylar covered floor and walls. Television static is manipulated in very subtle, kaleidoscopic forms, and complex static-filled mattes created from classic Hollywood science-fiction films hover on the threshold of perceptibility. Just as sonic patterns slowly emerge from the dense soundscape, what first appears as common television static, reveals itself to be more upon careful observation.

COCKED, 2003
(from the ReVisionist Cinema series)

Color video w/audio on DVD for projection
or multi-channel monitor installation
Running time: 10:00

Produced during the peak of international debate regarding the United States’ initiative to invade Iraq, COCKED is an anti-war statement in the guise of a minimalist Western, borrowing dozens of short segments from several Cinema classics of the genre.

COCKED expands and sustains what is usually a brief, tense, cinematic moment--the showdown--and implodes the quintessential American mythology of the Western by denying the redemption of its protagonists through acts of violence. As this extended psychodrama plays out, the classic desert panorama characteristic of the Western’s cinematic space is collapsed into a metaphoric psychological space, where every gesture, glance and posture, communicate a mixture of aggression and fear, and nothing is resolved



video
Cocked, 2003
Video excerpt

Installation view from ReVisionist Cinema / Triple Feature, 2004
The Last Garden (in Memory of Freeman Lowell), 2007
Potted plants, fogger, live video feed, DVD, video mixer, rear-screen video projection, LCD monitor

Installation view of window-projection at ICA, Philadelphia. Produced in conjunction with LURE Project's Sweet Green Hangout for the exhibition Locally Localized Gravity

Based on Douglas Trumbull's 1972 eco-sci-fi classic, "Silent Running", The Last Garden extends the original film's narrative in which the last surviving forest of Earth, preserved aboard Spaceship Valley Forge, is left in the hands of a single robot programmed to care for it.

In The Last Garden (in Memory of Freeman Lowell), animated footage of this robot is mixed in real-time with a live-video-feed of a small garden located nearby in the gallery, creating a scene where the robot appears to be tending the garden. Whether the garden will survive or not will become clear over the course of the exhibition. As the work is projected on the ICA's windows each evening over the duration of the exhibition, LURE's greenhouse (Sweet Green Hangout) and the ICA itself will be transformed into Spaceship Valley Forge, posing questions about the fragility of our environment, and the delicate relationship between Man and Nature.
video
The Last Garden (in Memory of Freeman Lowell), 2007
Installation documentation

The Last Garden (in Memory of Freeman Lowell)
, 2007
Video stills (with live feed)

Heston, 2004 (from the ReVisionist Cinema series)
Color video w/ Dolby Digital 5.1 surround audio on DVD for projection
Running time: 11:00

Comprised of silent, interstitial moments from Demille’s The Ten Commandments (1956)--extended through subtle looping and matting--Heston examines the slippery relationships between history, mythology and language. Building on concepts from Thomas Paine’s 1794 tract The Age of Reason: Being an Investigation of Both True and Fabulous Theology, both “the words” and “The Word” have been excised from Demille’s epic, stranding American icon Charleton Heston (Moses) amidst the grandiose artifice of theology and Hollywood splendor, where Miracle is confused with Special-effect. The awkward tension of these altered scenes questions the inherent profanity of theological portrayals and the conceit of the self-righteous.
video
Heston, 2004
Video excerpt

Installation view of Heston from ReVisionist Cinema / Triple Feature, 2004

Flavin Flav (Cold Lampin’), 2002
Fluorescent and blacklight fixtures, lighting controller, motion sensor, audio CD (Public Enemy remix), PA system, amplifier

In Flavin Flav (Cold Lampin’) Dan Flavin’s quiet fluorescent tubes are given the voices of hip hop icons Flavor Flav and Chuck D (of Public Enemy fame). This motion-activated sound/light installation bridges 25 years of anti-establishment creation and examines the reciprocal relationship between artistic practice and political activism, and the role played by race in assigning relative cultural values to art.

The Harpo Marx Free-Jazz Jamboree, 2000 - 2001
Multi-channel audio/video installation played from 6 synchronized DVD’s on (6) 20” monitors, (6) mdf pedestal w/ built-in speakers, (20) raw speakers, sync-unit
Running time: 5:00

The Harpo Marx Free Jazz Jamboree is inspired by the screen persona of 20th Century icon and clown extraordinaire, Harpo Marx. Though Harpo spent much of his adult life before the camera, he never uttered a word on film—yet he was able to communicate, through non-verbal sound, music and pantomime, more succinctly than his brother Groucho, whose persona was rooted in semantic play. The HMFJJ explores non-verbal sound and gesture as primary forms of communication, as well as the relationship of music and sound to Cinema. A connection is drawn to the transgressive, anti-establishment, spontaneous jazz form born in the early 1960’s, and emphasis is given to the development of a pure “sound language”, free of words but nonetheless full of meaning and expression.

Harpo

video

The Harpo Marx Free-Jazz Jamboree, 2000 - 2001
Single-channel version