An Experimental Video Smorgasbord | Film | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly

An Experimental Video Smorgasbord 

REDCAT's Artist Theater Program

Thursday, Feb 24 2011

Erika Vogt, a cross-disciplinary ball of fire whose film/video/installation work has blazed from CalArts to the 2010 Whitney Biennial, curates an evening of experimental video as jumbled as a bag of cats. But what provocative cats.

A shimmering highlight is the formally beautiful 2009 digital video Lake Pavilion, a moving still life of nature and empty architecture (in the form of a 1962 building on Philip Johnson's Connecticut estate) by UCLA photography department head James Welling. His filtered lens produces a disquieting quality of surveillance, remote observation. Stunning shifts of light and subtle pans from arching pillars to surrounding, wind-blown trees trace a preverbal longing and disconnection. This meditative work speaks volumes by not insisting.

Lucy Raven originally created 4:3 public service announcements (2008) to be shown on wee-hours public-access TV. Dryly ironic, its scrolling white-on-black text silently describes public-access TV history to presumably semisomnolent viewers: an archaic predigital system, a Blade Runner landscape of ossified technology.

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In Premonition (2010), 2008 Whitney Biennial artist Alice Könitz creates a modern re-enactment of Gaspar de Portola's 1769 discovery of the Los Angeles River. Filming at the now-concrete river banks, her actors sport faux-'50s modernist cardboard hats. She achieves a mock-historic pathos, remaking a site now known for Hollywood crime scenes into an ironic forest-primeval utopia. It's a past-versus-present drama in which the winner seems to be human self-delusion.

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The '80s had the Guerrilla Girls' performances protesting art-world misogyny; our New-Normal economy makes dystopic community-based activist art viable again. W.A.G.E.'s message: When you've got nothing, you've got nothing to lose by being rude.


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