Tuesday, July 1, 2008 at 8pm
Half of the People Are Stoned and the Other Half Are Waiting for the Next Election*
Curated by Nick Hallett
*A line written by Paul Simon for Leonard Bernstein's Mass (1971).
A screening of activism-oriented video, performance documentation, and new media from 2004.
As the race to the White House consumes our nation's collective attention, let's take a look back to the 2004 election and celebrate the unique spirit of that year when the art world in New York and across the country took up the mantle of this country's great activist tradition.
Many artists who make political work do so regardless of their calendars, but the high stakes of '04 yielded contexts for agit-prop art and performance unseen since the late 1960s. Initiatives like Downtown for Democracy and the Imagine Festival united New York's artist communities against the Bush administration as the RNC rolled into town. The Internet matured as a critical venue for countercultural action in attempts to revise standard models of protest. Audiences and critics, eager to experience their own distaste for the current state of affairs distilled into forms of art and entertainment, gave greater voice to explicitly political work. Guerrilla theater filled the streets at every opportunity for nose-thumbing, resulting in countless arrests, while cellphone cameras rolled to create a new kind of folk-documentary. Culture and politics collided in vivid and memorable fashion.
This collection of work from four years ago offers itself as something of a time capsule, although not enough time has passed for true nostalgia to set in. Yet the 2008 election is playing itself out very differently than its predecessor. Without a concrete enemy to inspire rage, Americans--artists included--seem to be placing their faith in the system and its candidates. But how different is our country's situation? Aren't we even worse off than four years ago?
I Need a Contingency Plan, Taylor Mac, video document of Live Patriot Acts: Patriots Gone Wiiild!, 2004
Campaign Spots, Guy Richards Smit/John Pilson/Lou Fernandez, video, 2004
March for Women's Lives, April 25 2004, Pink Bloque/Blithe Riley/Dara Greenwald, video, 2004
Keanu Reeves for President, Laura Parnes, video, 2004
Folk Music and Documentary, Seth Price, video, 2004
2304 Is a Beer Drinking Year, Jen Liu, video, 2004
KerryRocks.net, Cory Arcangel/Jonah Peretti, video download, 2004
The President of the United States, James Tigger! Ferguson, from Live Patriot Acts: Patriots Gone Wiiild!, 2004
Arnold's Ass, Laura Parnes, video, 2004
Big Screen Version, Aaron Valdez, video, 2004
Play the Game, Imaginary Company/Peter Glantz/Ben Jones, television advertisement, 2004
Fuck the Vote, Carbon Defense League, video, 2004
See the Elephant! (excerpt), Ryan Junell, multi-channel installation mixed to video, 2004 (includes document of musical work Ringing for Healing by Pauline Oliveros)
Jamming: By the Waters of Babylon (excerpt), Saul Levine, 16mm transferred to video, 2004
Listen (excerpt), Aldo Tambellini, video, 2004-05
White Man, Suicide, video document of live performance shot by Punkcast/Joly MacFie, 2004
Vote for Bush or Burn in Hell, Laura Parnes, video, 2004
TXTMob, Institute for Applied Autonomy, video, 2004
A World With No Bush, Julie Atlas Muz, from Live Patriot Acts: Patriots Gone Wiiild!, 2004
Up Came Oil!, The Yes Men/Patrick Lichty, computer animation and video, 2004
Libber, Wynne Greenwood, video/performance, 2004
Total Running Time: 80 mins
Nick Hallett is a musician and curator interested in the intersection of music and visual media. He has programmed at The Kitchen, Netmage, Aurora Picture Show, All Tomorrow's Parties, Artists's Television Access, Pacific Film Archive, Ocularis, Monkey Town, Issue Project Room, New York Underground Film Festival, Chicago Filmmakers, Chicago Underground Film Festival, Mass Art Film Society, and Secret Project Robot among others. His music series, Darmstadt, hosted with Zach Layton, was included in the New York Times's "Best of New Music 2007." He originated the band Plantains, which from 2000 to 2003 performed as a live multimedia outfit, incorporating electronic music and video. Nick enjoys performing music of several varieties, namely experimental contemporary art song of his and other's doing, and has sung recently at The Kitchen and Joe's Pub.
Tickets - $6, available at door.