The Vault (May - July 2015)

Cleveland School of the Arts, Kerry Downey, Angela Dufresne, Alex Golden, M. Lamar, Tara Mateik, Tameka Norris
May 15 - July 10, 2015

Opening reception: Friday, May 15, 6-9 pm
On view at SPACES: May 15 - July 10

On view in Vault #1

A body is a song to be sung
Curated by: Kerry Downey (Brooklyn, NY)
The performing body takes many forms. When artists put their bodies on display by dancing, singing, or lip-synching for the camera, their movements and voices are edited in private and strategically placed in the world. The filmed body is always "once removed." The artists in this selection seize this filmic space and use it to reconsider the relationship between music and video, performance and representation in the post-MTV era. They use falsetto voice, a cappella, and lip synch to create dragged out stop animations, lesbian utopias, gothic slave hauntings, and other perverse encounters confronting racism and heteronormativity. Each artist creates visual constraints to crack open a transitional space where melancholy, disillusionment, and radical embodiment are possibilities rather than limitations. These new spaces turn collective American traumas into private utopias, and re-enactments become new forms of reality.

Participating artists:

Angela Dufresne
Earth People , 2012
single-channel video with sound
Courtesy of Angela Dufresne
Duration: 04:51
In this cover of "Earth People" by Dr. Octagon, the camera cuts between scenes of Dufresne performing different parts of the song in her living room, kitchen and bathroom. She plays bass on the toilet, creates percussive ass slaps in the shower, raps the lyrics in the tub and kitchen, and dance-exercises in her living room.

Angela Dufresne
The Man That Got Away , 2010
single-channel video with sound
Courtesy of Angela Dufresne
Duration: 03:32
Dufresne's cover of the "Man that Got Away" (from Judy Garland's "A Star is Born"), cuts between over a dozen scenes of herself singing a cappella while fishing, driving, cooking, reading, and hanging out naked on a giant tractor in the woods.

Angela Dufresne uses acts of mimicry- -vernacular and perverse-- as keys to translation in song and painting. Mimicry is used to re-imagine our world, as training for higher levels of participation, self-reflection, and consciousness. Her work offers tools for imagination, radical empathy, and joy.

Alex Golden
A Limited Time Offer in the Life of J. A. Golden , 2011
HD video (originally 1080p) stop motion animation
00:16:05 with title and credits
A Limited Time Offer in the Life of J. A. Golden is a 15 minute 'opera' in four acts, examining the themes of aging, nostalgia, and capital. As an old man looks back on his youth and his brief career as a figure skater, he receives a credit card offer in the mail that promises rewards in the form of time; with each use of the card the man becomes increasingly younger.

M. Lamar
Trying to Leave my Body , 2014
HD Video
Directed by M. Lamar
animation By Sabin Calvert
Courtesy of the artist M. Lamar
Trying to Leave My Body uses melodrama to consider the relationship between black history, performance, and everyday experiences of despair. The song reflects on those lost in the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, specifically those captured Africans trying to escape the condition in which they found themselves (including the threat of death). The irony of "trying" speaks both to the inability to escape enslavement and to being trapped inside one's self or body.

Tara Mateik
Tin Man Love Hangover
single-channel video with sound
In need of a good oiling, Tara Mateik plays the Tin Man fromThe Wizard of Oz, mechanically lip syncing lines from the original film, until he gets lubed up by a Diana Ross impersonator, bringing him back to life to perform Ross' "Love Hangover." Often performing with collaborators who have trans or gender nonconforming bodies, Mateik's work disrupts gender binaries and expands the lexicon of queer histories to include transfeminist perspectives.

Tameka Norris
Back to Black, 2011
single-channel video with sound
4:10 min
Courtesy of the artist and Jane Lombard Gallery, NY.
In this remake of Amy Winehouse's "Back to Black," Norris layers her own voice over the music, erasing Winehouse's. Norris complicates this melodramatic love song through her simple performance, wearing black and white against a stark white background, drawing our attention to the song's title. Blackness as melancholy becomes a double entendre. Norris' cover reminds us of the history of appropriation of black culture (R&B and soul) by white musicians. As the music slows or her voice slips out of synch, the tightly wound pop song unhinges. These little blips raise questions of sincerity, flatten out Winehouse's interpersonal drama, and simultaneously raise the song's stakes.

On view in Vault #2

The Objectification of Love in the New Hip Hop Culture
Curated by: Daniel Gray-Kontar (Cleveland, OH)
High school students at the Cleveland School of the Arts, and their teacher Daniel Gray-Kontar, are guest curators of this special teen curated edition of The Vault. Students selected videos from World Star Hip Hop, a video sharing website, to dissect how issues such as feminism and materialism are being presented, consumed and interpreted by today's youth. They also investigate why drugs, violence, and sex have been recently associated with hip hop.

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