Skowhegan Two-Channel Video Festival: Week 2

Opening: Monday January 14, 5-8PM

Hours: Tuesday-Friday 10AM-5PM 

By Appointment: mail@skowheganart.org

Skowhegan NY  •  136 W. 22nd Street, New York, NY

week2-across

Week 2: Facing 

Monday January 14 - Friday January 18

Elizabeth M. Webb  (A ’18), C ONVERSE, CONVERSE

Elizabeth M. Webb (A ’18), CONVERSE, CONVERSE

Elizabeth M. Webb, A ’18

CONVERSE, CONVERSE

Converse, Converse is a two-channel video installation that creates a virtual conversation between family members who have never met. At age 18, I discovered a family history that had gone unspoken for a generation: my father’s father, whom I never met, was African-American—my father had been passing as white. He had also decided to raise our family as such, giving us no knowledge of our black ancestry. I have since connected with that side of my family and spoken with my father about his decision. Through a process of recording conversations with my father and separate conversations with the women I learned were my second cousins, I positioned myself as a go-between, filming each side watching the other’s interviews and finally, the reactions to their respective reactions. The viewer is situated between two parallel projection walls such that both sides of the conversation can never be viewed simultaneously—the viewer must choose a side. However, all the sound, from the conversations to the reactions, can be heard at all times. The act of choosing and the intimacy of listening implicates the viewer in the projected family drama.

Elizabeth M. Webb is an artist and filmmaker living and working in Houston, TX. Her work is invested in issues surrounding race and identity, often using the lens of her own family history of migration and racial passing to explore larger, systemic constructs. She has screened and exhibited in the U.S., United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, Ecuador, Singapore, Switzerland, South Korea, Mexico, Austria and Germany and was a recipient of the inaugural Allan Sekula Social Documentary Award in 2014. Elizabeth holds a dual MFA in Film/Video and Photography/Media from California Institute of the Arts and is an alumna of the Whitney Independent Study Program in Studio Art and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. She is currently a fellow in the Core program at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston.

James R. Southard  (A ’12),  Father’s Flag Part A & B

James R. Southard (A ’12), Father’s Flag Part A & B

James R. Southard, A ’12

Father’s Flag Part A & B

This is a dual video installation. Both are to be shown in the same space opposite each other. They are to play in a constant loop at the same time. Sound from both videos are to be at equal volume.

Over the years I’ve been looking into artwork that addressed how I saw my own community and culture. Being from the American Southeast, I wasn’t interested in how the world saw my culture, but how other southerners saw themselves. There are a million different ways to approach the subject of how a culture sees itself, but I have been making attempts to question how our culture picks and chooses its own aesthetic and ethos. I knew that we portrayed ourselves uniquely, yet many things that make the American South so distinct can easily be found elsewhere. So I believe we seek to distinguish our characteristics so that we can still keep an aura of societal independence. It is this act of looking inward, reflecting and creating an identity that I find more interesting and I have been finding ways to discuss it in my artwork.

This video installation is one of them. I came across the confederate flag shown in the video among my father’s belongings and I looked at the reasons why he owned and kept it. The symbol of the flag has many historical and abject connotations; yet dealing with the object is harder than I could of imagined. I wanted to address my father’s flag in the most honest method possible. Before I retired his flag, I waved it in the manner that I deemed fitting. The truck doing donuts, tearing at the earth, deals with the adolescent act of showing off and not seriously understanding our own acting’s. Living for the moment can be liberating, but I also wanted to address the history of this symbol aside from this object’s personal connection to me. So laying the flag to rest in a flag retirement ceremony seemed to be the best way to finish the cycle of this object’s life.

After receiving his MFA from Carnegie Mellon in 2011, James Robert Southard has worked in the art world through invitations to international exhibitions such as the Moscow Biennale for Young Art, Hel’Pitts’Sinki’Burgh in Finland, Camaguey Cuba’s 5th International Video Art Fest and participation in the Internet Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale in Venice Italy. In 2012, James started a collaborative photography and video series with the collaboration of the city of Seoul, Korea at Seoul Art Space Geumcheon. Soon after he took his project to Maine where he was a participant at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, then later to MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire, Yaddo Retreat in New York, Jentel in Wyoming, MASS MoCA and currently to the dairy farmers of northern Vermont. His digital construction process allows for public interactions and collaborations to combine together in the aesthetics of each composition. While continuing this process in new communities, He has also returned to academia by teaching photography at the University of Kentucky.

Tricia McLaughlin  (A ’92),  Disposable Heroes

Tricia McLaughlin (A ’92), Disposable Heroes

Tricia McLaughlin, A ’92

Disposable Heroes

Inspired by Anarchist and peace activist Emma Goldman’s speech “Patriotism:  A Menace to Liberty”, artist Tricia McLaughlin manifests a multimedia world of ruling and warring apes. The animations become a war zone of ideas emanating from the actual words of the renowned activist spoken in various tongues: English, Spanish, Korean, Arabic, Polish, Hebrew, Wolof, and others.

For Emma Goldman "War is a quarrel between two thieves too cowardly to fight their own battle.  Therefore, they take boys from one village and another village, stick them into uniforms, equip them with guns, and let them loose like wild beasts against each other."

For Tricia McLaughlin Disposable Heroes continues her exploration of the human need to impose order and design upon the world:  “In some ways my approach to art borrows from Goldman’s spirit of anarchy.  The status quo isn’t always the best rule. The social constructs we live by affect our behavior.  Modifying, or exaggerating those constructs and rules, changes the game.  More so when it is a game of power.”

Tricia McLaughlin received an MFA from Hunter College and a BFA from Syracuse University. She has been awarded various grants and fellowships, including a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2005, two grants from the Jerome Foundation (Travel Grant, 2006 and Media Arts Grant, 2004) and an Artist’s Fellowship from New York Foundation for the Arts. Her work has been exhibited in the US, Canada, England, Germany, Spain, Russia, Chile, South Korea and Japan. She is an Associate Professor in the Visual Arts Department at the State University of New York, College at Old Westbury and lives and works in New York, NY, USA.

Josefina Malmegård  (A ’16),  Heavenly bodies

Josefina Malmegård (A ’16), Heavenly bodies

Josefina Malmegård, A ’16

Heavenly bodies

Heavenly Bodies is a two-channel video installation where one of the videos shows the interaction between two fitness enthusiasts. We follow their communication and training which sometimes questions the iconic image of the strong, independent man. Through selfies and motivational texts, they build their personal brands on social media. To subvert the normative image of training in the gym, the bodybuilders are filmed in natural landscapes. Surrounded by greenery, their bodies may be read in light of ritual and holy practices. The monologue is based upon text from one of the protagonist’s Instagram accounts.

The second video shows a martial art champion’s training with a rope at a cemetery in autumn. This video reflects upon bodies as perishable matter.

Through Instagram I have come in contact with bodybuilders, MMA professionals and fitness enthusiasts. Their profiles show pictures and text which present their philosophy that everything is possible; you can be “fit”, and “improve” yourself through physical training. The aim is to create “the best version of themselves”. Reminiscent of religious communities, their path is marked by discipline and dedication.

Josefina Malmegård (b. 1989, Stockholm) investigates psychological landscapes within social structures of public and private spaces. Her works create potential scenes for an act, where bodies and subjectivities investigate a certain environment. Malmegård explores the relationship between architecture, processes in bodily and natural systems, where these can be seen as lines of communication between the material world and the spiritual. In her practice, Malmegård aims to access a breaking point in which the viewer and work come together, dissolving fantasies and subjective experiences of reality. Malmegård holds a MFA at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm.

Jessica Segall  (A ’10),  (un)common intimacy

Jessica Segall (A ’10), (un)common intimacy

Jessica Segall, A ’10

(un)common intimacy

Today in the United States, there is an onus on volunteers to pick up environmental responsibility that was once upheld by civic organizations. Free-market environmentalists assume a self-prescribed role of rouge animal guardian. Private wildcat reserves create an ecological diversity of fauna never coexistent under one biome, based on selective and desired organisms, namely that of a pre-colonial past. Here, tigers and lions roam a mowed landscape of the American South. These preserved wilderness sites reinforce ideals of private property, producing capital from both the conservation and entertainment economies. Un-common Intimacy was shot in private wildlife reserves in the six states that allow private ownership of large predators. I trained to handle the wildlife in order to embed myself in the ready-made sites.

Jessica Segall is a multidisciplinary artist residing in Brooklyn, NY. Her work has been exhibited at the Havana Biennial, The National Gallery of Indonesia, the Queens Museum, the Aldrich Museum, the Inside Out Museum, The Museum of Contemporary Art Vojvodina, and Mongolian National Modern Art Gallery. She is the recipient of grants from NYFA, NYSCA, Art Matters, The Pollock Krasner Foundation and The Rema Hort Mann Foundation and attended artist residencies at The MacDowell Colony, The Sharpe Walentas Space Program and the Jan Van Eyck Academie. Her work has been featured in Cabinet Magazine, The New York Times, Sculpture Magazine, Mousse Magazine and Art in America. Jessica received her BA from Bard College and her MFA from Columbia University.

Sharon Paz  (A ’01),  HOMESICK

Sharon Paz (A ’01), HOMESICK

Sharon Paz, A ’01

HOMESICK

HOMESICK is inspired by the short story The Kitchen Clock by the German writer and playwright Wolfgang Borchert, who is considered part of the so-called Trümmerliteratur (rubble literature) of post-war Germany. The specific short story deals with a young man who lost his home and his parents during a bomb attack. Still today, the short story stands for situations in which people lose everything, have to start from scratch and rebuild their lives.

The video was shot at "Volkspark Humboldthain" in Berlin-Mitte, which was built in 1869. In the years 1941/1942, a complex high bunker with two flaked towers, heavily contested towards the end of the Second World War, was erected. After World War II, the bunker and towers were blasted, covered with rubble into an artificial mountain. Today the upper top plate of the former tower serves as an official vantage point, and a part of the bunker system can be visited again.

Homesick puts the war-torn story of the district in relation to the current situation in the Mediterranean and shows how stories of flight and expulsion, reconstruction and new beginnings recur and interfere.    

Sharon Paz (born 1969, Israel) received a MFA from Hunter College. She now lives and works in Berlin. Paz exhibited extensively in Weserburg Museum for Modern Art, Bremen, Germany, Smack Mellon in NYC, The Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai, China, and the Herzlyia Museum of Art in Israel. Her video works are part of the collection of Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Video-Forum Collection, Berlin and The Israel Museum, Jerusalem. Her work has been screened in numerous festivals and galleries such as Thomas Erben Gallery and Art in General in New York City; Transmediale 11 in Berlin.

Week 1

Sunday January 6 - Friday January 11

Jaye Rhee (A ’09), Polka Dots 
Ana María Gómez López (A ’15), On Taphonomy 
Mary Vettise (A ’12), A reality with forms 
Lorena Mal (A ’16), Invisible Structures 
Jonathan Ehrenberg (A ’11), Monument

Week 2

Monday January 14 - Friday January 18

Elizabeth M. Webb (A ’18), CONVERSE, CONVERSE 
James R. Southard (A ’12), Father’s Flag Part A & B 
Tricia McLaughlin (A ’92), Disposable Heroes 
Josefina Malmegård (A ’16), Heavenly bodies. 
Jessica Segall (A ’10), (un)common intimacy 
Sharon Paz (A ’01), HOMESICK

Week 3

Monday January 21 - Friday January 25

Itziar Barrio (A ’12), Mirroring Basic Instinct 
Alan Segal (A ’15), Internacia Lingvo 
Shana Hoehn (A ’13), Boggy Creek Version 2 
Seline Baumgartner (A ’14), Nothing Else 
Bryan Zanisnik (A ’08), Aquarium Painting 
Lex Brown (A ’12), Projection Affection 
Cooper Holoweski (A ’09), As Above, So Below

Week 4

Monday January 28 - Friday February 1

Richard T. Walker (A ’09), the predicament of always (as it is) 
Kerry Downey (A ’17) and Joanna Seitz, Weather Report 
Angela Willetts (A ’16), Escape Raft 
Orr Menirom (A ’16), Clinton and Sanders Looking at the World and Naming Things for the First Time 
Holli McEntegart (A ’14), Beyond the ultraviolet, beyond the infrared 
Jennifer Calivas (A ’16) and Dan Swindel, Sides