Hybrid Narrative: Video Meditations of the Self and Imagined Self
curated by: Susannah Magers
February 3, 2012 – February 26, 2012
**Reception Friday, February 3rd, 7-10 pm**
MacArthur B Arthur is pleased to announce Hybrid Narrative: Video Mediations of the Self and Imagined Self, a group show featuring multi-media installation and video work from the
Bay area and beyond, by artists Sofia Cordova, Shana Moulton, Liz
Rosenfeld, and Chris E. Vargas.
The artists in this exhibition use video as a device to mediate certain idealized worlds, operating in and on various real, imagined and invented environments, states of mind, alter-egos—and, ultimately, themselves. As both maker and participant, Cordova, Moulton, and Vargas use the visual language of their own performative bodies to enact versions of the self, while Rosenfeld demonstrates this through the interaction of the performative bodies of others. They are at once themselves, other, and hybrids of both. As Moulton says about her
character Cynthia in her episodic work Whispering Pines (2004–11), “I guess I’m not Cynthia. But if I’m not, then no one is. I don’t know how much I should separate her from myself.”
While some of the works appear as clear declarations of self, others are more entangled in the subconscious, uncertain of how the self will manifest. Invoking the satirical, Vargas performs in and around various recognizable American sites, including a Mormon temple in Utah and Nancy Holt’s Sun Tunnels (1973-76), exposing himself by lifting his shirt followed by the declaration, “Have you ever seen a transsexual before?"(the title of this work). Dissatisfied with the reception by these real-world sites, Vargas turns to animated environments; a beach
paradise surrounded by beach balls, and a tranquil wilderness, where transsexuality is visible and celebrated. Similarly, Moulton navigates a seemingly oppressive domestic space in her series Whispering Pines, languishing in front of Antiques Roadshow or painstakingly mixing a glass of Crystal Light, before escaping and transmuting herself into ethereal Enya Muzak dance parties and other animated, self-guided visualizations.
Cordova’s narrative focuses on the (at times conflicted) merging of her Puerto Rican and American identities, infusing found footage with her own, as well as the music of Chu Cha Santamaria, her character that embodies this narrative. In homage to Barbara Hammer’s 1974 Dyketactics, Rosenfeld’s Untitled (Dyketactics Revisited)imagines an unapologetically liberated, queer utopia where, “androgynous figures, skin, and concrete, masquerade through a fantasia of fluid forms referencing history while looking into the future.”
Whether through ambiguous, yet symbolic, incorporation of popular cultural tropes, or more personally imbued visual information, the works create opportunities for identification by the viewer, and speak to an ever-evolving nature of the human spirit and how we continually shape and experience our sense of self.
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