BROADCAST / Alternate Meanings in Film: Chapter Three

Gagosian Online

June 30 – July 20, 2020

ONLINE EXHIBITION

You’re only as young as the last time you changed your mind.
—Timothy Leary

Broadcast: Alternate Meanings in Film and Video employs the innate immediacy of time-based art to spark reflection on the here and now. Looking to the late 1960s—a historical moment marked by deep uncertainty, social unrest, and radical transformation—this online exhibition loosely adopts famed psychologist and countercultural icon Timothy Leary’s mantra “turn on, tune in, drop out” as a guide for negotiating our present moment.
The third chapter presents five films and videos by artists who adopt experimental approaches to explore the unique potential of their respective mediums.

William Forsythe - Alignigung II (still), 2017; Single channel video; 16 min. 30 sec.
Choreographic Concept: William Forsythe, Rauf "Rubberlegz" Yasit Choreographic realization: Riley Watts, Rauf ”RubberLegz” Yasit Music: OP.1 (For 9 Strings) by Ryoji Ikeda © Ryoji Ikeda Cinematographer: Steeven Petitteville

In “Turn On,” William Forsythe and Steven Parrino use unconventional means to generate awareness of their immediate environments. In Alignigung II (2017), Forsythe treats the intertwined bodies of his two performers as tools for exploring the limits of the self and other. In Guitar Grind (1995), Parrino “turns on” to the possibility of using the bass guitar and amplifier atypically, whether as a “bow” for a guitar or an apparatus to generate feedback noise, respectively.

Sterling Ruby - Hiker (still)
2003; Single Channel Video; 2 min. 20 sec. - © Sterling Ruby

The two works included in the “Tune In” section represent divergent approaches to complicating mass-media conventions. In his commercial for fashion brand Jun Ropé in 1973, Richard Avedon presents an exploration of the social performance of gender identity that deviates from the typical content found in the television advertisement genre at the time. In Hiker (2003), Sterling Ruby deploys various horror film techniques—such as a lurking camera perspective and evocative sound design—in a short video of a female trekker ascending a mountain, casting a sinister pall over the otherwise innocuous visual content.

Representing the curatorial category of “Drop Out,” Man Ray’s film Emak Bakia (1926) exemplifies the visionary techniques and oneiric imagery that characterize the early twentieth-century avant-garde movements of Dada and Surrealism, which sought to awaken contemporary society to alternative possible realities no longer beholden to rational thought.

Man Ray - Emak Bakia (still)
1926; 16 millimeter black and white, silent, motion picture; 16 min. - © Man Ray Trust/ADAGP

Each chapter of Broadcast will introduce a new set of films and videos on Tuesdays. The next chapter will debut on July 21.