Shotgun Review

Remembering is Everything

By Joshua Kim February 10, 2013

Alter Space’s current exhibition, Remembering is Everything, offers six works that translate a video created by the curators Bean Gilsdorf and A. Will Brown.1 What manifests is a subjective collection of practices reflecting on a media encounter that also explores the dynamics of communal and individual memory.

Gilsdorf and Brown combine their network of artists to produce a richly textured exhibition that confronts the possibilities of remembering. The exhibition contains unconnected pieces, yet each work contains  a remnant of the source video, which conveys a sense of interconnectedness. Yayoi Asoma’s paintings 79 Maujer (hallway) and 79 Maujer (kitchen) (both 2012) depict interiors in a limited, two-tone palette that resembles degraded-VHS color. The translucent paint strokes suggest specific objects and the trails of memories attached to them. Stephen Slappe’s video collage, Bad Religion (2012), taps into the anxieties associated with nostalgia and absent memories. With a Moog-like, rhythmic hum and cuts between high-definition vignettes, Slappe’s work oscillates between conveying states of blissful ignorance and total recall. Kate Nartker’s video It was a perfect fine day (2012) is a haunting meditation inspired by crime shows. The dramatic soundtrack and textured images recall ’90s crime shows like Unsolved Mysteries and Twin Peaks.

David Kasprzak’s sound installation, We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For (2012), appropriates its title from a 1978 poem by June Jordan, “Poem for South African Women,” that is also often credited to Hopi elders.2 Though the record player’s physical presence in Kasrzak’s work is modest, the audio loop permeates the exhibition. The repeating sound bite is the title phrase from Roy Orbison’s single It’s Over. David Kasprzak, one of the curators of the exhibition space Will Brown, has repurposed the intention of the loop with the simple execution in this work.3

Kasprzak_waiting_for

David Kasprzak. We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For, 2012; audio recording, record player. Courtesy of the Artist. Photo: Joshua Kim.

Over multiple visits, I noticed that the quality of the Orbison loop degrades in real time due to the record’s abrasion by the needle. Instead of a sample that implies infinite revolutions, this loop deteriorates into a unintelligible sonic wash. The work’s expression of entropy offers notes of mortality while it creates a new audio presence in real time.

Remembering is Everything draws attention to different experiences of memory, ones we keep private and ones we share with others. By prompting artists to create individual works based on a shared video experience, Gilsdorf and Brown blur the division between personal and communal memories.

 

Remembering is Everything is on view at Alter Space, in San Francisco, through February 23, 2013.


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NOTES:

1. Full Disclosure: Bean Gilsdorf is a regular contributor to Art Practical.

2. Alice Water, who wrote a 2006 book of the same title, and Sweet Honey in the Rock, an a cappella ensemble that wrote a song with that title, both credit Jordan, a Caribbean American poet and activist. Although frequently cited as originating with Hopi elders, there is no evidence of the quote in print before 1980. For the full text of “Poem for South African Women,” see http://www.junejordan.net/poem-for-south-african-women.html

3. Kasprzak is a founder and curator of the exhibition space Will Brown, as opposed to A. Will Brown, the curator, after whom the space is named. See http://www.artpractical.com/feature/interview_with_will_brown/

 

Joshua Kim is an artist, curator, and writer working on the idea of fatigue from the visual consumption of pixels.

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