On the Hour: Artist-Curated Film Screening at CANADA Gallery


This week, New York’s CANADA Gallery hosts a screening series of works curated by video and film artists chosen by the gallery. Each of the nine artists have been given a one-hour timeslot for their presentation. The elements of each artist’s presentation range from humorous, scatalogical examinations of the body (Brooklyn-based film artist Darren Floyd’s presentation, screening Friday, is titled “Face or Ass?”) to philosophy (queer theory- and feminist-informed artist Cecilia Dougherty’s contributions, shot with a Coolpix digital still camera, include “bits borrowed from Martin Heidegger and others”), and inevitably, their overlap. Here, we speak to three of the curators about their programming choices:

Paolo Pedercini, Welcome to the Desert of the Real, 2009. Courtesy the artist and CANADA New York.

The artists featured in TIT’s (Friday 7:30) fall into two categories:
Those whose videos document both public and private body-driven performances which exclude spoken word, Lenka Chudlová, Torsten Zenas Burns, Nao Bustamante, Kenyatta Forbes, Dara Greenwald, Jennifer Locke and Lilly McElroy, and video artists whose work suggests or speaks to/for a body that is absent or mute: Paula Cronan, Diane Bonder, Kenyatta Forbes, Aimee Worms Hirshberg, kara lynch and Paolo Pedercini. CANADA invited me to curate freeform so I chose to create a program that explores some questions/ assumptions that are foundational to my own video practice. I had recently seen and loved Lenka Chudlová’s “as fast and for as long as possible” projected onto the wall across an alley from my studio in Massachusetts. I started with that and began to build an interplay between the body-driven and disembodied works. I drew on some of my favorite film and video artists (Paula Cronan and Diane Bonder) and found others through conversations with other curators and friends. The work that I found/chose absolutely influenced the direction of the program.

There’s a Machinima filmed with America’s Army, the recruiting game produced by the Department of Defense, a naked zombie performance from the halls of the WTC’s 91st floor, a feminist response/ode to Bruce Nauman seminal, an episode from Kara Lynch’s speculative retrofuture project, and an archival night vision video doc of a classic performance from Nao Bustamante. What holds it together for me is the opportunity to experience and consider the impact of “the body” without voice and voice/perspective without a body.

My ongoing video series that relates to this program is “Flights of Fancy,” a series of fictional biographies, sound-driven conversational narratives textured by videotracks from the subject’s super 8 archive.

Black Dice, Kokomo, 2007. Courtesy the artists and CANADA New York.


When CANADA asked me to curate a video screening as part of their summer series I knew I wanted it to be a fun, colorful and subversive show. I came across the quote from William S. Burroughs where he says: “When you cut into the present the future leaks out.” I thought this would be the perfect theme.

I’m featuring my own work, as well as works by Takeshi Murata, Black Dice, Jacob Ciocci of Paper Rad, Shana Moulton, PFFR, Jimmy Joe Roche, Sophia Peer, Joe Quinn, Ray Roy, Roboshithead, Robby Rackleff and Showbeast.

Takeshi Murata, Black Dice, Jacob Ciocci and Shana Moulton are established artists whose work I admire and like. PFFR made Wonder Showzen, which was a great, fucked-up television show. The other artists are friends of mine whose work is similarly psychedelic and/or absurd. Roboshithead was the best public access show in New York City. Sophia Peer is a video artist currently working on a project for Bermuda (the father of M.I.A’s baby). Joe Quinn is the smartest and scariest person I’ve ever met, and he’s studying to become a mathematician. Jimmy Joe Roche, Ray Roy, Robby Rackleff and Showbeast are all part of the Wham City art collective in Baltimore, of which Dan Deacon is also a part. I have this theory that Japanese pop culture is really insane because Japan is the only country that’s ever been nuclear bombed. To me all of the videos in this show represent what I imagine mainstream television will be like after the apocalypse.


When Sarah Braman and Phil Grauer expressed an interest in showing my film “When How To Live Was Undecided” at CANADA, we talked about putting together a little screening. I realized that I had an opportunity not only to show my film, but to screen it along side works by filmmakers that I admire. I asked my friend Zefrey Throwell to co-curate.  Since my own film is essentially an act of motion portraiture, I wanted to contextualize it with other films that use collaborative portraiture to tell stories. Zefrey’s videos are the results of irreverent and boundry testing performances. Together, we decided on the theme of “Face and Ass.”  

The “Face” portion of the show is four films that attempt different kinds of characterization through motion portraiture. The artists are Jem Cohen, Marie Losier, Naomi Uman and myself. I invited the filmmaker Marie Losier. whose films I saw at a recent Flaherty Seminar screening at Anthology Film Archives.  She is well known for her 16mm portraits of the Kuchar brothers and a recent collaboration with Guy Maddin. I saw Naomi Uman’s recent film Kalendar at the Migrating Forms Film Festival.  I struck up a professional friendship with her on Facebook because I liked her film so much. Naomi now lives and works in the Ukraine, where she has made five films. Zefrey recommended Jem Cohen (jemcohenfilms.com) to round out “Face.” Jem has made numerous documentary and portrait films, including the Fugazi film, Instrument and Benjamin Smoke.

The “Ass” portion of the show is four performance videos curated by Zefrey. The artists are LoVid, Rashaad Newsome, Hugh Walton and Zefrey.

LoVid is the interdisciplinary artist duo of Tali Hinkis and Kyle Lapidus. Their work includes live video installations, sculptures, digital prints, patchworks, media projects, performances, and video recordings. I became aware of their work after a recent performance at MoMA. Hugh Walton is a video and performance artist who uses his body as  a communicating device. Darren turned me on to his work. Rashaad Newsome is an amazing conductor and artist, transversing mediums from performance to dance to collage and video. I first became aware of his work after seeing a large scale performance at The Kitchen.

As for our own upcoming projects, I will be at Cornell University in 2009-2010 as Artist-In-Residence to work on a series of supernatural self-portraits. Zefrey just finished a project at the Venice Biennale and is preparing for a large performance piece utilizing a public fountain in midtown as an impromtu Olympic swimming pool.

July 30: 7 PM Liz Wendelbo “Cold Cinema”; 8:30 PM Allen Cordell “Pulsating Sunglasses”
July 31: 7 PM EE Miller “TITS”; 8:30 PM Darren Floyd “Face or Ass?”
August 1: 7 PM Ben Coonley and James Fotopoulos “Coonley/Fotopoulos”; 8:30 PM Cecilia Dougherty and David Kalal “Signal to Noise”

CANADA Gallery is located at 55 Chrystie Street, New York.