Impending Actions: Virtual Video Art Screening
Time and Location
About The Event
In this extraordinarily historic moment of cultural and societal change, OCMA stands in solidarity with the voices of Black, Indigenous, and people of color and vows to amplify creative activities that support the movement. This program and other future programs speak to this effort and will continue to work to foster meaningful dialogue, creative expression, and critical thought.
The selected video works from OCMA’s collection hold a particular relevance for us now as they speak to living in a condition of uncertainty, chaos, and reform. Each work features bodies engaged in improvised or choreographed movements wrought with tension and striving for empowerment. Some actions intend to seek detachment from explicit social contexts, while others allude to political and cultural upheaval in Syria and South Africa.
Organized by Ziying Duan, Curatorial Administrative Assistant
List of Artworks:
Douglas Gordon, Over My Shoulder, 2003, video, 13 minutes and 48 seconds
In Over My Shoulder, Douglas Gordon uses hand gesticulation to communicate a series of violent and sensual emotions. The gestures are framed within a nondescript background, allowing the viewer to connect the imagery to counterparts in reality. Through a simple conceit, the work reflects on the capacity of nonverbal body language to convey meaning.
Robin Rhode, Colour Chart, 2004/2006, digital animation, 4 minutes and 50 seconds
In Colour Chart, a white-clad character and another figure dressed in multicolored garments engage in a symbolic battle in front of an urban wall. After a series of fights, the character dressed in white generally gains the upper hand. In the end, it turns to be a self-battle between two identical figures, complicating the color-coded racial conflict that appears on the surface. The colors worn by the defeated invoke the Rainbow Nation, a term that depicts the multicultural status of post-apartheid South Africa. The monochromatic and bichromatic garments are reminiscent of carnival costumes in the culture of Coloureds, a multiracial ethnic group in South Africa that Robin Rhode frequently refers to in his work.
Koki Tanaka, A Piano Played by Five Pianists at Once (First Attempt), 2012, HD video, 57 minutes
In A Piano Played by Five Pianists at Once (First Attempt), Koki Tanaka tests the cooperation skills of five pianists by inviting them to play one piano simultaneously without rehearsal. The video documents how the artist’s prompt to “create a soundtrack for collective engagement” comes to fruition: from conflict and negotiation to consensus. The collective action is precarious, any small move can shatter the peaceful façade. This fragile state speaks to friction in today’s politics between the individual and collective.
The Speculative Archive (Julia Meltzer, David Thorne), not a matter of if but when: brief records of a time in which expectations were repeatedly raised and lowered and people grew exhausted from never knowing if the moment was at hand or was still to
come, 2006, video, 32 minutes
not a matter of if but when… frames Syrian performer and filmmaker Rami Farah as a talking head against a white background. Impersonating an anonymous citizen body, Farah improvises responses to prompts given by the artists, including loaded questions like: “What would you say to someone who has promised you something for years and years and never delivered?” Responding in metaphors, allusions and premonitions, Farah evokes a context of political turmoil where speech cannot be direct. The absence of an interlocutor and the ambiguity of each subject discussed, varying from violence to utopia, enable open interpretations of the performance. Farah’s visceral wordplay and gestures lay out an emotional landscape for the unsolved social issues that reverberate across the world.
Image: Video still from Robin Rhode, Colour Chart, 2004/2006, digital animation. Courtesy of the Artist.