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Eungie Joo

September 9, 2009 8:00 pm

Haegue Yang

Doubles and halves—events with nameless neighbors

Video, color, nonsynched sound

The video essay “doubles and halves—events with nameless neighbors” (2009) is a kind of cornerstone of Haegue Yang’s exhibition, “condensation” at the Venice Biennale (on view through November 22, 2009). In it, yang integrates footage shot in two overlooked places—the declining neighborhood of Ahyun-dong, Seoul, where she used to live, and the seasonally abandoned biennale grounds near the Korean pavilion during the off-season. Juxtaposing a nonsynchronous voiceover with a lingering visual composition that features the residue of residents and their activities at these sites, the artist speculates on the invisible experience of disappeared inhabitants in order to consider the unwantedness and resonance of marginal spaces. (18 minutes, excerpt)

Documentation, empty cans (New York)

2009

Documentation from workshop performances by New York City teens stemming from Tarek Atoui’s residency at the new museum, in which he conducted two, one-week music and technology workshops with New York City teenagers from the museum’s high school program, g: class, and the New York City department of parks and recreation. Atoui initiated his practice of working with youth in France in 2005 with empty cans, a music and video workshop for teenagers based on his software program of the same name. The application runs synchronized music and video, manipulable with mixers and Nintendo Wii controllers. He subsequently brought the project to several groups of Palestinian teenagers in refugee camps in Lebanon, and has since realized workshops in the Netherlands, France, Egypt, and the United States.

Damián Ortega

Moby Dick

16mm color film transferred to video, sound

produced at Redcat as a commission during Ortega’s residency and the exhibition “the beetle trilogy and other works”

“An experiment. That is how Damián Ortega describes the action Moby dick, an antiheroic fight between man and machine, between an artist and his anthropomorphized vehicle. In it, the artist places a Volkswagen beetle in a five-meter-wide circle, greases its bald tires, ties a rope to its rear bumper, and cues the driver to accelerate. A live band jams to the led zeppelin song of the same name while Ortega pulls. As an innovative act or the test of a hypothesis, this experiment in sculpture serves as a telling focal point in Ortega’s practice, one that refracts numerous strands in his idea production: mechanized systems, contemporary myth, and linguistic metaphor, states of matter, chaos, humor, and energy.

Moby dick is one of a trilogy of works that revolve around the beetle as an icon of the promise of modernity, its challenges, and failures. This promise is the fuel for a practice of propositions that explores “a sculptural relationship in understanding how matter works, how it reacts, and how it can be activated in nature in order to channel or convey energy.¹

Often these explorations are temporary, involving organic materials and variables of location and time as gestures of momentary resolution open to evolution and reiteration. It is a constellatory system wherein gravitational tensions maintain constant if imperceptible, motion and balance.”

From eungie joo, “matters and mytheme: a proposition,” the beetle trilogy and other works (exh. cat), Los Angeles: redcat, 2005.

Eungie Joo is director and curator of education and public programs at the new museum, new York where she spearheads the museum as hub, a laboratory for art and ideas realized through a partnership of international arts organizations that seeks to support art activities and experimentation; explore artistic, curatorial, and institutional practice; and serve as an important resource for the public to learn about contemporary art from around the world. She was previously director & curator of the gallery at Redcat, Los Angeles, and this year served as commissioner for the Korean Pavilion at the 53rd Venice biennale. Joo will discuss her recent activities and vision for a curatorial practice that exists in real-time.