Exhibitions - Video Café: About the Mind (Not Everything You Always Wanted to Know)

Video Café: About the Mind (Not Everything You Always Wanted to Know)

About The Mind (Not Everything You Always Wanted To Know) is a selection of video that engages in different perspectives of everyday consciousness through the restructured time and space of the medium. Some artists strategically utilize the parameters of the monitor to simulate psychological states through the use of extreme closeups and editing: exaggeration and distortion are frequently employed to achieve visually imbalancing effects. Others examine the issue of human psyche from objective and rhetorically modified points of views taken from popular entertainment and corporate culture. The work explores the boundaries and connections between often divided territories of the mind: private versus public.


Rosemarie Fiore (b. 1972, New York, New York)
Balls of Steel, 2001, 2:30 min.
The pinball machine is a mechanism that allows the player limited control over the dominant force of physics and plenty of chance elements. But in Balls of Steel, the viewer is not the player. Entirely shot from the drain of a pinball machine, the work locates the viewer in the midst of a nightmarish vision. It is a fish eye view of a demolition derby with toy trucks and double-decker buses seen from behind flippers that frantically operate to return the rambling steel balls. The distorted perspective exaggerates the chaos that underscores the loss of mental control where one is helplessly terrorized by one’s own mind.


Ken Fandell (b. 1971, Evanston, Illinois; lives in Chicago, Illinois)
It’s Hard and I Could Use Some Help, 2001, 5:00 min.
The focus is on a pair of hands that struggles to assemble incredibly diminutive models of nude human figurines. The unpainted white models are in poses reminiscent of well-known sculptures: David, the Thinker, and the Discus Thrower. The gigantic fingers, too clumsy to manipulate the microscopic body parts, reveal an exceedingly frustrating operation. Glue, tweezers, and pinsetters assist in the comedy. As production problems are compounded, the work illuminates the physical near-impossibility of creation. Seemingly eternal, the painful endeavor continues while the progress remains unachieved.


Stephan Pascher (b. 1958, New York, New York)
The Heat Makes You Do Strange Things, 1999, 5:30 min.
The Heat Makes You Do Strange Things combines footage taken from John Boorman’s Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977) with Lou Reed’s Perfect Day performed by Pascher. The film is a story of a teenage girl who is possessed by demons. The work utilizes the climactic sequence where a stormy swarm of African locusts wreak havoc on the young protagonist. Calm is gradually restored when the insects mutate into bits of rubble. Excerpts were cut, slowed down, and rearranged to create a hypnotic ballet of the supernatural phenomenon in which a low-key ballad serves as a perverse serenade to the horrific event. The work meditates on chaos, discipline, and paranormal conditions of material and immaterial realities.


Patty Chang (b. 1972, San Francisco, California; lives in New York, New York)
Contortion, 2000, 2:30 min. Courtesy of Jack Tilton/Anna Kustera Gallery.
In Contortion, the artist simulates the superhuman posture of a Chinese acrobat: her feet loop over her back touching her face while her stomach rests comfortably on the floor. She looks straight at the viewer with a Mona Lisa grin pasted on her face. The confidence she has in her performance is comically juxtaposed with the blatant trick of substituting an extra person to perform her lower body. Chang’s act involves individual, physical, and mental endurance and metaphors of struggle and failure. The viewer experiences an unidentifiable discomfort in witnessing the body as object and device.


Rev. Luke A. Murphy (b. 1963, Boston, Massachusetts; lives in New York, New York)
The Goal of Anxiety, 2001, 6:55 min.
The Goal of Anxiety dissects a visual and psychological system presented by the ubiquitous PowerPoint software that targets professionals, distributors, and end-users in today’s corporate society. Outlining the strategies and dynamics of anxiety, this middle-info-ware is an effective guide for those who make anxiety their goal and expect results without compromising their business, spiritual, or creative ends. The work is comprised of the most up-to-date data and metrics presented in a series of dynamic graphs with an upbeat soundtrack. The graphically perfected persuasion of PowerPoint caters well to the collective desire to conquer the troubling mental symptom. Murphy reveals the authoritative rhetoric of PowerPoint presentations in which anxiety is presented as extensible and scalable.


Sarah Millman (b. 1976, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada)
Lacan’s Mirror, 2002, 2:14 min.
A woman is singing a song written by the famous folk singer Woody Guthrie Over Yonder in the Minor Key in the privacy of her own bedroom. Millman digitally splits the tape down the center to create a mirror effect. This manipulation not only creates a visual distortion of her body morphing into a variety of monstrous formations, but also represents an illusion of her looking at her own mirrored image. The song further endorses the narcissism: “”…There ain’t nobody who can sing like me.”” Millman observes that the roles of singing in church choirs (congregation to God) and karaoke are similar in unifying singer with listeners. In Lacan’s Mirror the woman sings to herself as if to unify an otherwise divided self-identity.


Joseph Maida (b. 1977, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; lives in New York, New York)
Untitled, 2000, 5:20 min.
Across thick pedestrian traffic and a hot dog vendor, the camera settles on a boy standing against a storefront. The viewfinder struggles with its frequently shifting focus as people passing by intercept the image of the boy. Gradually, the boy’s awareness of being watched is revealed in his subtle body language and occasional glances thrown back at the camera. Against the nervous beat of electronic noise-music, a fortuitous voyeurism in the public space increases the flirtatious tension between the boy and the artist through the camera.


Gabriele Stellbaum (b. 1962, Berlin, Germany; lives in Brooklyn, New York)
Patty, 2001, 2:00 min. Courtesy of Florence Lynch Gallery.
A sequence of extreme closeup shots seen within the frame of a video monitor effectively amplifies the irksome air of Patty, the gorilla in the zoo. The ape’s distress is captured in tight shots of her face and body: her hairy hands rub each other, her fingers scratch an eyebrow, and her eyes twitch and rove helplessly. Laughter and voices of children in the background are edited and repeated: “”go away!”” (as if to speak Patty’s mind) and “”the fat one, the fat girl”” (calling for others to come and watch Patty). The voices have uncanny interactive effects on the gorilla’s gestures. Unable to escape from her aggressors, she sinks into neurotic disorder. Patty shows a damaging view of the psychologically abused.”

Participating Artists

— Patty Chang

— Ken Fandell

— Rosemarie Fiore

— Joseph Maida

— Sarah Millman

— Rev. Luke A. Murphy

— Stephan Pascher

— Gabriele Stellbaum