PLAY | New York 2016
PLAY is a dedicated showcase for video and new media, serving as a platform to encourage discovery within the digital realm.
At PULSE New York 2016, PLAY was curated by Joey Lico, Independent Curator and Director of Programming at The Cultivist.
Les Joynes, Shapeshifter, 2 min, 14 sec
Courtesy of the artist and 532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel, booth A-209
Zachary Fabri, Forget me not, as my tether is clipped, 14 min, 15 sec
Courtesy of the artist and Garis & Hahn, booth A-216
Leif Huron, The Valley, 11 min (looping)
Courtesy of the artist and Uprise Art, booth A-208
To enter a dialogue in which one’s own worldview is on the line—to jettison one’s inherited role in the game of truth and falsity—is to give up one’s patrimony of the world. –Thomas McEvilley
One of the common social functions of art has been its role in shaping and sustaining the sense of Western European identity. Post-Modern art, in particular, presented objects that invited a bonding of communal identification around a shared understanding of their meaning.
The videos selected for PLAY challenge this communal understanding and actively illuminate the contemporary knowledge that when one culture regards the rituals or landscapes of another, those scenes are instantly incorporated into a foreign mental framework. They are helplessly interpreted through some habit of thought different from the habit of the artists.
In Shapeshifter, New-York based, Les Joynes recontextualizes Joseph Beuys’ I Like America and America Likes Me (1974) during his journey to the Khovsgol Province in Northern Mongolia. Exploring nomadic identity, Les Joynes performs this shamanic ritual expanding his Selfhood in the adaptation of the Other.
Forget me not, as my the tether is clipped, conveys Zachary Fabri’s relationship to cultural history, the ideologies and beliefs that define his identity, and his transformation as he gains experience and knowledge through his performance near Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem.
Leif Huron’s The Valley depicts a man’s journey though an unforgiving rural landscape –a totemic representation illustrating a highly focused sense of identity through one’s struggle to find a place of belonging.
Each video’s use of ritual encourage the viewer’s skeptical eye towards the value stance of communities other than their own, and in effect, invite us to broaden our sense of self–approaching the goal of becoming not universal in a metaphysical sense, but global in a more empiric sense.