Spring 2008 Talks
Liam Gillick’s engagement with modernity and the structures of post-industrial social organization has led him to work in a number of different media, including video, film, sculpture and text. Often addressing failed utopias and idealistic political organizing, Gillick's work tends to function parallel to the world around it, at once disrupting and channeling elements of power, exchange and routine. Through the interaction between text, space and the objects of daily life, his work invites viewers to engage the built structures of spaces like the bar, the home, and the workplace. Gillick (b.1964, Aylesbury, England) is also a prolific writer, and his installations frequently operate in relationship to his rigorous text work; for example, the research project Construcción de Uno documents the history of a closed factory to which the original workers return and begin developing new modes of economic production. This theoretical text inspired a number of installations, including The View Constructed by the Factory After it Stopped Producing Cars (2005), a metal landscape made from the same type of steel used in car factories, and Four Levels of Exchange (2005), a series of four text structures installed at Frankfurt Airport.
Dara Friedman (b. 1968, Bad Kreuznach, Germany) presents her movie, Musical, a 48-minute orchestration of sixty singing performances that took place on the streets of Midtown Manhattan for three weeks last fall. The composition uses a split screen and wide format, allowing the singers to harmonize with themselves, sing unintentional duets, or even create dissonance. By producing a musical mis en scène in our cityscape, a curious inversion happens by which the choreographed elements transform the happenstance of the street into a crafted stage. Dara Friedman is best known for her film and video installations in which she uses the techniques of structuralist filmmaking to depict the lushness, ecstasy, and energy of everyday life. She often distills, syncopates, reverses, loops or otherwise alters familiar sounds and sights, drawing attention to the distinct sensory acts of hearing and seeing. Whether her work portrays a series of narrative fragments or a single evocative scene repeated over and over, Friedman heightens the emotional impact by cutting directly to the film's climax in order to, as she puts it, "get to the part you really care about."
Paul Chan (b.1973, Hong Kong, China) first gained critical attention for a series of rich and complex digital animations. One such animation, Birds...Trash...The Future (2004), referenced Goya, Notorious BIG, the Bible, and more, generating an apocalyptic landscape serenaded by birdsong and mobile phones. Chan has also produced single-channel videos, drawings, writings and, more recently, a series of digital projections. These projections, collectively called The 7 Lights (2005-07), unfold through a series of interconnected installations, which include drawings, texts and collages. Chan is also well-known for his political interventions; in 2002 he broke U.S. sanctions and federal law to visit Baghdad, and in 2004 he garnered police attention for The People's Guide to the Republican National Convention, a free map distributed throughout New York City to help protesters to get in or out of the way of the RNC. Most recently Chan collaborated with the Classical Theatre of Harlem and Creative Time to produce a site-specific outdoor presentation of Samuel Beckett's play Waiting for Godot in New Orleans. On April 30th he will present The Spirit of Recession as part of the Public Art Fund's Spring Talks program.
Public Art Fund Talks are organized by the Public Art Fund in collaboration with the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School.