Three web-based pieces: Time Before Memory (Interactive Fiction 2019), Drift (interactive photo essay, 2020), and my newest piece, Shanidar, Safe Return (Interactive Fiction, 2023). These works are viewable on my website and are now a part of an international collection of web-based works.
The CYLAND Video Archive (since 2008) is one of the first systematized online video art platform of its kind: most of the works gathered here are accessible for view on the internet at the archive website.
The idea to make video art works and films open for the public viewing online comes from the beginning. It was a very progressive thing to demonstrate and promote video art online and to have this exchange between classic and young artists and to make an international networking platform. CYLAND Video Archive is a great information and educational resource. Each year the Cyland Video Archive produces an international competition video art program for the CYFEST media art festival.
One of the tasks of the archive is to build an open and accessible collection, to protect works of art from being locked in private collections, and to prevent their technical basis from becoming outdated. The archive is structured in two parts: videos on the website with open access (artists personal pages), and the offline collection for professionals accessible at the archive office. Currently, the collection comprises over 600 videos from different countries. The collection includes video art, experimental films, computer graphics, 3D animation, stop-motion animation, poetic video, video documentation of art and education projects on cutting-edge technologies.
The opening was on Saturday, Oct 21, and it was GOOD.
Curated by Terri c. Smith, a Bard Curitorial Program grad and someone who has done her research. I went with my friend Pat from New Haven and I had no expectations for this show – it could be great or it could be not so great. And it was very good (i.e., great) and completely engaging. Work by people I know, people I don’t know but admire, and people I once knew: Peggy Ahwesh, Max Almy, Ericka Beckman, Gretchen Bender, Dara Birnbaum, Cecelia Condit, Cecilia Dougherty, Ulysses Jenkins, Nam June Paik, Ann Magnuson, Piplotti Rist, and Michael Smith. Newcomers Am Schmidt and Willie Stewart as well.
Pat and I stayed ’til closing time. She took my picture – you can get a glimpse of how each artist’s work is installed – clean and neat, plenty of room to watch, and Paik’s work was set up with a comfy padded bench for viewing.
The show is up through the year, closing on Jan. 14, with a curator walk-through and reception on Dec. 9 from 3-5 PM.
Tubular Times is a group exhibition that features significant video art made from 1981-1993. The show also includes thematically related satellite installations with newer works by contemporary artists Am Schmidt and Willie Stewart. The historic component will be on view in the main gallery and black box room and will feature approximately twelve artists, including Peggy Ahwesh, Max Almy, Ericka Beckman, Gretchen Bender, Dara Birnbaum, Cecelia Condit, Cecilia Dougherty, Ulysses Jenkins, Nam June Paik, Ann Magnuson, Pipilotti Rist, and Michael Smith.
Terri C. Smith is showing my little-known 1986 video, SICK, a visual monologue about being disabled and closeted about my disability. But it’s not all doom and gloom – it’s an experimental piece created at the San Francisco Art Insitute, in Studio 9, which was equipped with a gigantic Grass Valley Switcher and Downstream Keyer. All our effects and colors were created in the live mix. Very analog, and lots ‘n lots of fun!
The exhibition is inspired by Vestron video, which was a production company and VHS distributor located in Stamford, Connecticut in the eighties and early nineties. Sharing qualities with Vestron’s catalog of B-horror, music video, and campy humor, many of the works in Tubular Times layer comedy, horror, and music to address 1980s political themes in the U.S., including the AIDS crisis, a growing wealth gap, and Reagan-era backlash to the civil liberties of the 1960s and 1970s. The show’s title references: cathode-ray tube (CRT) televisions used in the 1980s; that decade’s saying “totally tubular”; and phonetically suggests the word turbulent.
1981 was the first year of MTV and the first year of the AIDS epidemic, setting much of the tone for a decade. It’s not surprising, then, that the video art of the 1980s exhibited a unique mix of urgency, desperation, camp, and techno celebration. In the video art of that era, gender identity, a sense of life-and-death urgency, theatricality, satire, and experimental digital techniques coalesced. During this time, we see irreverent divergences from the conceptual video art of the 1970s which, while often addressing sociopolitical themes, was rarely directly influenced by television and movies. With cable television growing in the mid-1970s and being in sixty-percent of American houses by 1992 and with VHS bringing movies into the home, the topographies of entertainment shifted dramatically during this time. Video editing also became more sophisticated, allowing artists to appropriate imagery from pop culture.
Vestron’s catalog was a mix of comedy, satirical spoofs, and thriller/horror genres. The company also was involved in music videos and released Making of Michael Jackson’sThriller. Vestron is best known for the film Dirty Dancing, but other movies they released include: quirky comedies like Earth Girls are Easy and The Princess Bride; horror movies such as Slaughter High and Horror Hill; and comedy-horror films such as Sundown: the Vampire Retreat and Lair of the White Worm. For some of the artists in Tubular Times, horror—a genre inextricably linked to VHS—becomes an allegory for the othering of the LGBTQ+ community as well as the systemic failure and loss of life during the AIDS crisis, which was further exacerbated by Reagan-era policies that centered cisgender, heteronormative, white, capitalist ideals. The resulting ethos of these videos is to varying degrees harrowing and hysterically funny.
It is fitting to locate Totally Tubular—an exhibition inspired by this piece of Connecticut film history—at Real Art Ways, a contemporary art space that has a long, rich history of supporting independent cinema through its film programming.
Curated by Steve Seid program online January 12–Febuary 7, 2023
Includes work by Cecilia Dougherty, Azian Nurudin, Leslie Singer, Marshall Weber, Dale Hoyt, Paula Levine, Emjay Wilson, Andy Heustis, and Ivar Smedstad.
SCREENING: Your World Dies Screaming (1981) by Dale Hoyt; Garbage Head (1981) by Marshall Weber; The Madonna Series, Parts 1–5 (1987) by Leslie Singer; Fuck You, Purdue (1987) by Cecilia Dougherty; Jungle Gym (1981) by Andrew Huestis; Mirror, Mirror (1987) by Paula Levine; High Fidelity (1986) by Ivar Smedstad; Funk Is Its Own Reward (1981) by Marshall Weber; Malaysian Series, Parts 1–6 (1987) by Azian Nurudin; My Pal Foot (excerpt) (1981) by Andrew Huestis; Donkey-Skin (1988) by Emjay Wilson.
Remember Dale Hoyt! Support video art and artists!
CHAOS THEORY by Steve Seid
How would you describe a gathering group of unruly artists? A fortuitous anarchism, or just trouble on the way? And if such a faction existed in one particular moment and in one particular place, the SFAI, providing unruly succor for its constituent parts, what would you call that moment? A discordant convergence?
Just such a thing occurred at the San Francisco Art Institute in the early-and-mid eighties when a gaggle of singular young artists converged on the recently formed Performance/Video Department and all (heaven and) hell broke loose. A moment, such as it was.
With every upheaval, whether aesthetic or political, there are ringleaders, and among them at the P/V Dept. was a bratty pact—Dale Hoyt, along with his pals Marshall Weber (who would go on to found Artists’ Television Access) and Andrew Huestis—and Cecilia Dougherty, leading an insurgent group of women artists that included Leslie Singer, Azian Nurudin, Didi Dunphy, Jill Garellick and others. The creative energy welling from this convergence was enough to overheat nearby North Beach. If you add to that mix a core faculty of Howard Fried, Paul Kos, Sharon Grace, Doug Hall, Kathy Acker and Tony Labat, you had fissionable artistic material.
The show was in November, 2021, before all hell broke loose. And the catalogue just came out, June 2022.
Cecilia Dougherty (USA) DRIFT web-based art, 2020
“Drift” tells the story of a walk the artist took in March, 2020, along the North Shore of Staten Island, NY, just as it was beginning to dawn on people that leisurely strolls might be a bad idea at the present moment. The project was created using basic HTML/CSS coding, and the images were taken with an iPhone. The artist takes a final stroll through favorite parts of her neighborhood before lockdown.
Descriptions of the surroundings and a chronicle of events of the pandemic are mixed with critical thoughts on virus capitalism, such as the experience of resisting the virus in the USA and the inaction of the Trump administration.
I like the way my piece, Drift, is displayed – it’s a good size – not gigantic and not tiny, and it’s at a height and an angle that looks pretty accessible to me. Thank you, CYFEST!
As you listen, the particles of sound (phonos) decide to be heard. Listening affects what is sounding. The relationship is symbiotic.
Curator’s Statement, Jamie Chan:
I wanted to see a collection of artworks together that could speak about daily life and art but outside of categories or commentary, sort of like a stream of water, a walk, a place to rest the mind. Thereness, but not at all reductive. Works that communicate intimately to the viewer through stories with a soft focus. Doesn’t represent a dialog, but represents the relationship between thought process and idea formation. A circle is a thought pattern. Not fiction or nonfiction, neither formal nor informal. Works that are grounded in specific places, groups of people, and rest in fluid qualities of time. A sense of resolution that lingers.
Works not exactly being in service of “process” – not ephemera or document – but concretely living and direct. The form of the works themselves is materially lightweight, diffuse and comprises accumulated gestures, yet is emphatically manual and sourced from the materiality of life and the senses. The works also all resemble piles – larger trajectories and practices exceeding the sense of time that they exist in. These artists capture our attention in both the front and back of our minds, skillfully folding time into a narrative movement that smolders, and the implication of that movement circles us back to elemental and early experiences of the earth and of place, individuals in groups connecting back to the source. JC
Cecilia Dougherty’s small drawings (pencil and conté crayon on paper, various sizes, 2021-22) have been created as the background drawings for episodes from the story she has developed over several visits and much research into the Paleolithic cave art in Spain and France. The story follows Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons on a migration through France, Italy, the Balkans and southward to what is now Iraqi Kurdistan, to a site called Shanidar, the location of the well-documented Neanderthal flower burial. Cecilia Dougherty is a visual artist living in New York.
In the work of Lucía Hinojosa Gaxiola, two decaying leaves reveal their venation patterns where hidden traces suggest a map of movement. She brings landscape to the foreground–the words root, rot and rotation are repeated in her ritual typewritings, and her drawings are made upon uneven ground. Lucía is an interdisciplinary artist and writer from Mexico City, and the editor of diSONARE, an experimental editorial project. Her time-based practice explores the fluidity of language through investigative poetics, resulting in a corpus of visual, sonic, and text-based works. Her expanded poetry practice involves an engagement with the environment and collecting natural and found objects.
Anthony Leslie’s 2014-22 sound diaries are the products of an ongoing daily practice that combines field recording, concentrated listening and first-person narrative. They represent an extensive and growing archive of his sound memories, mostly from his time spent living, working and caregiving in and around Los Angeles. They contain public sounds, domestic sounds, sounds from the world of nature and of music, the voices of friends, family, people on the street, poets, protestors, and others.
Today, fundamental changes are taking place on our planet, and our entire lifestyle is being re-examined. We’re seeing other forms of life existing in what feels like a parallel universe – which we used not pay such close attention to – now invade our lives. Such inalienable rights as freedom of movement, meeting friends, socializing, and saying our last farewells have suddenly become impossible. The pandemic caught us unaware. Like in Noah’s Ark, we are locked up with our families and pets, or on our own as we move towards a new technogenic life. Virtual reality has suddenly crept into our lives and is asserting its rights. Social networks are becoming the only form of contact with the outside world, with friends and family. If personal QR-codes contain all the information about a person, including biological data, then where will the boundary of state interference in our private lives be? Perhaps, this crucible of changes will change society and our everyday reality drastically, help us to shed the unnecessary and superficial things in life, and to gain a better understanding of ourselves and the people around us. –theme description from the Cyfest/Cyland site
Francesca Fini (Italy), /S)CONFINAMENTO — first chapter, 2020
Community in den Filmen von Peggy Ahwesh, Cecilia Dougherty und Hannah Quinlan & Rosie Hastings DONNERSTAG, 23. AUGUST 2018, 19 Uhr
Here’s the description of the complete show, if you’re in Bern mañana:
In the late seventies, the filmmakers Lis Rhodes, Jo Davis, Felicity
Sparrow and Annabel Nicolson founded the feminist film and video
distribution network Circles in London. Circles was
created in response to the need to have a platform for films by women.
Previously, its founders had all been members of the London-based
Film-Maker’s Co-op, and Circles was also a response to the lack of representation of women filmmakers in that co-op. The
screening at the Kunsthalle is part of a series of events and
screenings focusing on filmmakers since the 1970s. The films screened
are by Peggy Ahwesh, Cecilia Dougherty as well as by Hannah Quinlan and
Rosie Hastings. They look in different ways at queer communities,
playing with stereotypes, exploring the autonomy of community spaces and
looking for individual forms of expressions within the communities.
With an introduction by the organizers Ann-Kathrin Eickhoff (Author
& Art Historian, Zurich) & Geraldine Tedder (Assistant Curator
Image: Hannah Quinlan & Rosie Hastings, UK Gay Bar Directory, 2016, Still from Film
Mit einer Einleitung von den Organisatorinnen Ann-Kathrin Eickhoff
(Autorin & Kunstwissenschaftlerin, Zürich) & Geraldine Tedder
(Kuratorische Assistenz Kunsthalle Bern)
I’m showing two videos, Eileen, from 2000, and Joe, from 2018 in Circles.