Friday, October 10, 2008

Referential Juxtapocombinations

Astro Black: A History of Hip Hop (Episode 1), 2007
Digital video
Courtesy the artists

The Artswipe's regional tour of Orange Juice County (see previous post) I have been compelled to return to my urban roots and examine what’s hot in the neighbourhood. There's so much on - such great stuff I've seen - but the focus of this review will be this year's Primavera at the Museum of Contemporary Art, which was curated by Hannah Matthews. Usually this little love-in of work by Australian artists under the age of 35 is a hit and miss affair. But this year it shone, if only for the inclusion of the Sydney contingent made up of two artist "entities" for want of a better term: Soda_Jerk (previously reviewed at The Artswipe here) and Ms & Mr (previously reviewed at The Artswipe here).

Soda_Jerk (AKA Dan & Dominique Angeloro) presented episodes 0-2 of their remix readymade video series – Astro Black: A History of Hip Hop. Soda_Jerk shine because they expertly and unpretentiously mine z-grade movie archives looking for samples that will form new-fangled narratives when reassembled in always inspired juxtapocombinations - I coined this word in dedication to Soda_Jerk. Using the audio language of remix, but supplanting it in both audio and visual terms, Soda_Jerk snub new media convergence rubbish for a good old fashioned VHS love-in. I just hope Soda_Jerk are on good terms with the manager at their local Blockbuster, because surely it is here where they are most at home, indeed it must be the temple at which they worship. You can hear their squabbles: "Dan! How the fuck did we wrack up $237 in late fees?" "Dom, I've told you once, I've told you a million times: REWIND!"

Unlike Soda_Jerk, who are a sister combo, Ms & Mr are a husband and wife team (Richard & Stephanie nova Milne). Soda_Jerk never reference their real selves in their work because, well they haven’t been in movies that could be sampled (unless they are hiding this from us). In contrast Ms & Mr are child actors, who performed ad-nauseum for their own family home movies. They either had a very patient family or totally controlling stage mothers who would make them perform... OR ELSE! As adults Ms & Mr decided the best way to pursue an art practice was to turn these little home movies into spooky sci-fi video installations that explore the idea that Ms & Mr have always been together, forever and always and in every time zone, including daylight savings. If not for their
goosebumply - I coined this word in dedication to Ms & Mr – Primavera
installation, another reason to like Ms & Mr is because unlike almost everyone I know in the artworld (and I know everyone), they are totally married. I thought no one got married into that heteropatriarchalnormative framework anymore. Wonder what will happen when they have a kid – will they become Ms & Mr & Jr?

Soda_Jerk quote movies. Ms & Mr quote themselves. Melbourne artist
Danielle Freakley quotes, well everything because she's obviously greedy. True to her surname, Freakley performs "freak-like" as
The Quote Generator – a woman with dark frizzy hair (it may be her own) and who only speaks in pop culture quotes. Unless you fact-check everything she says (and frankly, who has the time) you have to accept that she's not making this shit up. And really, having a conversation with her must be the equivalent of stabbing yourself in the eye. But good for her, there is a real art to annoying the hell out of people. Speaking personally, I believe Freakley has stolen my thunder because The Artswipe has always seen the world in quotation marks. I’m a very rigorous referencer. If I could fuck a footnote I would. Certainly, Freakley’s work has great potential – it is an endurance performance par excellence, excuse the French, but really it has no visuality to speak of, rendering it a limp, ill-considered and visually boring installation encountered upon entering the MCA’s main entrance.

That’s all I have to say about the 2008
because - I hate to admit it - I never made it to level 2. Recently I developed a rare allergy to stairs.


Anonymous said...

"If I could fuck a footnote I would" (Artswipe, 2008).
"If I could fuck the film 'scenes of a marriage' I would." (Anonymous, 2008). That would be in reference to all artists referenced in your post.

cash said...

The allergy may in fact be instinct my dear AS.
My marriage was a performance piece, endured over 14 years and resulted in my junior,I have pieces of paper as documentation, do I get to play in the MCA now?

Anonymous said...

"Sometimes it's like husband and wife are talking on telephones that are out of order" (Bergman, 1974)

Is that relevant? Is anything relevant? Perhaps everything is relevant.

Artswipe...... what is the meaning of life?

Skanky Jane said...

Great post Arty, thanks - i enjoyed learning more about the work of Soda Jerk and Mr & Mrs. The latter, like Tim Noble and Sue Webster, remind me of us (heart) xx