Production Values is a video screening featuring artists who investigate ways that popular culture normalizes state violence. Using their own proximity to media as a tool, the five artists in this screening each use different strategies to lay bare a violence that is often masked by entertainment. Combining humor, appropriation, essayistic digressions, and strategies borrowed from documentary film, these works ask viewers to reconsider our own role in our mediatized landscape. What could it look like to resist this normalization? How can the ways we look shift? What does resistance look like on the couch, in the living room, in the movie theater?
Maura Brewer, The Surface of Mars , 2016
The Surface of Mars is a 2016 video essay that takes Ridley Scott’s 2015 film The Martian as a site of analysis. Combining appropriated footage, animation, and voiceover narration, The Surface of Mars follows the actress Jessica Chastain in her roles in The Martian, Zero Dark Thirty, and Interstellar.
Maura Brewer’s video essays combine footage from Hollywood films, television and internet subcultures to question ways in which female subjects are mobilized and constrained by a mainstream culture that mimes the language of feminism in the service of patriarchy. Brewer has exhibited internationally, including MoMA and Art in General in New York; MCA, Chicago; MUMOK, Vienna; and the Centre d'Art Contemporain Genève. She is a 2017 California Community Foundation Fellow, and a 2016 and 2018 Creative Economic Development Fund grantee.
Abigail Collins, Out of Play (episodes 1 and 2) , 2017
Out of Play captures military training exercises within Medina Wasl at Fort Irwin Training Center, interspersed with footage of film set fabricators and audio clips of interviews with an Iraqi role player. Culminating in a conversation between the artist and her father -- an actor who has played military figures in film and television productions -- Collins investigates the weight of role-play, political trauma, and cultural production.
Abigail Raphael Collins is an interdisciplinary artist utilizing documentary, journalistic, and conceptual practices to reconsider relationships between media and systemic violence. Recent exhibitions include Angels Gate Cultural Center, PØST, Torrance Art Museum, and USC Station Gallery, all in the greater Los Angeles area, and at the Yeosu International Art Festival. She is the recipient of the Toby Devan Lewis Fellowship and a UCIRA grant, and is a former resident at Seoul Art Space Geumcheon.
Vishal Jugdeo, An Education in the Logic of the Leaves, 2014
An Education in the Logic of the Leaves was made in 2014, in collaboration with Shyaam Kaara, an actor who had recently moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in film. This film is edited from a series of conversations between the actor and artist, and is intercut with footage shot in India, Guyana, and Los Angeles.
Vishal Jugdeo is a filmmaker and artist whose work constructs experimental approaches to narrative and documentary, weaving together strategies from a variety of modes of film and television. His work often emphasizes the physical and psychical space around moving images, revealing the mediated process through which we understand the unfolding present. He is based in Los Angeles.
Paul Pescador, Greetings Friends, 2017
Greetings Friends is a full-length essay film titled after a Disney Studio produced film. In 1941 the United States government created the Office of Inter-American Affairs, stemmed from a growing concern of potential Nazi infiltration in Latin America. In Greeting Friends, Pescador reconsiders these films and their relationship between cultural diplomacy and colonialism.
Paul Pescador is an artist, filmmaker, performer, and writer discussing social interactions and intimacy as they pertain to his own personal identity and history. He graduated with an MFA from University of California, Irvine and a BA from University of Southern California. Select exhibitions and screenings in the greater Los Angeles area include 18 Street Art Center; 5 Car Garage; gallery1993; Coastal/Borders, Getty Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA at Angels Gate Cultural Center; LAND at The Gamble House; Vacancy; Ashes/Ashes; Park View; and Human Resources.
Sable Elyse Smith, How We Tell Stories to Children , 2015
How We Tell Stories to Children is a single-channel video that combines found footage, music clips, and audio of the artist reading with video clips of her father recording himself from prison. Focal points occur just offscreen, or quickly flash away. We are given glimpses of a young man running, of city streets flying past from out a car window, but the video centers on clips of her father recounting events in their shared past.
Sable Elyse Smith is a writer and artist based in New York. In her practice she examines the complex language and emotional landscapes embedded in systems of surveillance and structures of constraint, and the often invisible ways in which they shape our minds and direct our bodies. Smith is currently an Artist-in-Residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem. Recent solo exhibitions include How We Tell stories to Children at the Atlanta Contemporary, Atlanta, GA, Ordinary Violence at the Queens Museum, New York and a nd then the street lights - like a warning bell at Recess, Brooklyn.
*This screening is presented in collaboration with The Arts Research Cooperative [ARC], an interdisciplinary program that brings together artists, curators, writers and other cultural producers. The ARC serves an immediate need for practitioners by providing a space for collaborative learning and exchange in an art world that is increasingly market-driven. The Arts Research Cooperative emphasizes the relationship between labor, theory, and practice, and encourages projects that are socially, historically, and politically grounded. The Armory and ARC each recognize the role of educational institutions in supporting artists and cultural producers who make work without immediate commercial value. As such, we are invested in supporting a range of non-material, discursive and research-based art practices.