Gary Metz’s Quaking Aspen: a Lyric Complaint
















Gary Metz’s Quaking Aspen: a Lyric Complaint
Fordham Unversity's Ildiko Butler Gallery
113 West 60th Street
New York, NY 10023
Website
Contact: apicellahit@fordham.edu

Show dates: Monday, January 20, 2014 – Friday, March 14, 2014
Opening reception: Tuesday, January 21, 2014, 6 – 8 pm

Curators: Stephan Apicella-Hitchcock, Artist-in-Residence and Gallery Director for the Ildiko Butler Gallery, Hayden Hartnett Project Space, and Lipani Gallery & Joseph Lawton, Associate Professor and Director of the Visual Arts Department

Critical essay by: Edward Earle, Curator, Collections, International Center of Photography
Gallery talk: Edward Earle, Wednesday, January 22, 2014, 6 – 8 pm

This exhibition is generously supported by Fordham University Art Collections & funded in part from a Fordham University Faculty Challenge Grant

Printing: Sergio Purtell at Black and White on White (with Fordham Alumni Rory Mulligan and Apollonia Colaciccio)

Catalog scanning and image adjustments: Saul Metnick

In the 1970’s, the late photographer and educator Gary Metz generated a significant body of work that was very much in the spirit of the times. Metz’s Quaking Aspen: a Lyric Complaint challenged the first 100 years of landscape photography, which had placed a major emphasis on depicting nature as sublime, heroic, and unspoiled. Unlike previous photographers who glorified nature, Metz and his contemporaries wrenched photography out of the national parks and replaced the scenic with the vernacular of the everyday American landscape.

A number of Metz’s colleagues received wide recognition for their similar investigations culminating in the seminal 1975 exhibition, The New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape at the Museum of Photography at the George Eastman House. Gary Metz never received the same level of acknowledgement. Now, 40 years later, his Quaking Aspen: a Lyric Complaint is as powerful and relevant as ever, resonating with current interests in ecology and the everyday landscape.

This touring exhibition consists of twenty-one black and white photographs selected from the larger body of work, with an accompanying catalog including a critical essay by International Center for Photography Curator, Edward Earle. Confirmed venues for the exhibition include Spéos Paris London Photographic Institute. Potential venues include the Rhode Island School of Design, Syracuse University, and The University of Colorado, Boulder – significant to us as curators, as we were Gary’s students at two of the aforementioned schools. The importance of this exhibition is twofold: first, it properly sites Metz’s work within the history of the medium; as well, it marks the first time that the Fordham University Visual Arts Department has mounted a touring exhibition of this scope and caliber.

Given that Gary was an influential educator, this exhibition incorporates students in all levels of production. The exhibition prints will be made by Sergio Purtell at Black and White on White. Sergio was an undergraduate photography student at Rhode Island School of Design under Gary and currently, several of our Fordham photography graduates, Rory Mulligan and Apollonia Colaciccio are employed at Black and White on White. They will be assisting Sergio in printing this exhibition.

Saul Metnick, a student of Gary’s while an undergraduate photography student at Rhode Island School of Design has painstakingly overseen all digital scanning and image adjustments for the reproductions in the exhibition catalog, as well as for web and social media purposes.

In light of the fact that Gary Metz was a Professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder; Director of Education at the International Center of Photography, Director of the Photography Department at the Rhode Island School of Design, as well as in the collection of the Museum of Modern art, amongst others, it is surprising that no major exhibition of Metz’s photographs has ever been mounted. We are confident that the exhibition Quaking Aspen: a Lyric Complaint, will reach beyond the Fordham community and receive wide attention and publicity. As educators, the opportunity to work together with students towards generating an exhibition of historical significance would be an extraordinary opportunity

Stephan Apicella-Hitchcock & Joseph Lawton, 2013

All images courtesy of: The Estate of Gary Metz
©2013 The Estate of Gary Metz
Catalog Essay ©2013 Edward Earle

The Ildiko Butler Gallery Opening Exhibition






















The Ildiko Butler Gallery Opening Exhibition

Photographs by: Ildiko Butler, Dylan Chandler, Tiffany Edwards, and Joseph Lawton
Curator: Stephan Apicella-Hitchcock

On view: September 23 – October 31, 2013
Champagne reception: Tonight - Monday, September 23, 5:30 – 7 p.m.

The Ildiko Butler Gallery
Fordham University at Lincoln Center MAP
113 West 60th Street at Columbus Avenue
New York, NY 10023
Website

The current display of black and white photographs by Ildiko Butler, Dylan Chandler, Tiffany Edwards, and Joseph Lawton is the inaugural exhibition of the Ildiko Butler Gallery at Fordham University’s Lincoln Center Campus. Ildiko Butler (FCLC 1985), Dylan Chandler (FCLC 2004), and Tiffany Edwards (FCLC 2002) are all Fordham alumni and former students of Professor Joseph Lawton. Their work represents a range of years, different photographic styles, and interests; however, despite the differences in their individual focus, each photographer is engaged in the process of carefully studying the world and representing it in a straightforward, descriptive manner. Fidelity to what is framed is of paramount importance.

Ildiko Butler’s digital photographs were made in Apt, France in 2013. Her careful scrutiny of a single site yields a number of meditative, found sculptures and still lifes. As well, her interests in form and attention to light have a connection to romantic photographs by late 19th and early 20th century landscape photographers.

Dylan Chandler’s photographs were made at nighttime in Hong Kong in 2012. His precise focus is on the architecture of a modern city and the repetitions and juxtapositions that are found in dense urban environments. People are conspicuously absent; yet, constantly alluded to.

Tiffany Edward’s large format photographs were made in Staten Island, close to where she grew up. Her portraits of individual children are candid and understated. Despite her use of a cumbersome, large format camera on a tripod, the portraits have an immediacy and intimacy.

Joseph Lawton’s 35mm photographs from around the world have a narrative quality and embrace the theatrical found in everyday moments.

Regardless of the photographers’ chosen subjects, all the participants in this exhibition are deeply engaged in the process of looking at what is in front of them. Their images embrace a long tradition in the medium of photography that celebrates the revelatory power of direct representation.

Stephan Apicella-Hitchcock, 2013

Image credits: (left to right, top to bottom) Ildiko Butler, Apt, France, 2013; Joseph Lawton, Calcutta, 1989; Tiffany Edwards, Brandon, 2003; Dylan Chandler, Wan Chai, Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong, 2013

Caveat Emptor (let the buyer beware)

 




















Caveat Emptor (let the buyer beware):
An exhibition of confiscated art forgeries from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s holdings

Organizers: Stephan Apicella-Hitchcock & Daniel Small

The artists purportedly exhibiting are: James E. Buttersworth, Marc Chagall, Willem de Kooning, Tsuguhara Foujita, Juan Gris, Paul Gauguin, Henri Matisse, Maurice Prendergast, Rembrandt van Rijn, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Andy Warhol, and Hale Woodruff

The Center Gallery
Fordham University at Lincoln Center
113 West 60th Street
New York, NY 10023

July 26 – August 9, 2013
Reception: Friday, July 26, 6 – 8 pm
Website

Caveat Emptor brings together a cross section of confiscated art forgeries on loan from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s holdings. The works and time periods represented in the exhibition are disparate and the exhibition’s cohesion is further challenged by the tension between the paintings’ initial renown and their true makers’ anonymity. Although one might recognize a work and be tempted to ascribe the word “art” to the object on the wall, they are in fact knock off products, regardless of skill level, that are intended to deceive collectors, institutions, experts, and history.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has definitively certified each work in the exhibition as a fake. Nevertheless, some contested works have historically occupied a limbo in which the very criteria for determining what is authentic and what is a forgery have been in a constant state of flux. Numerous works have been classified and reclassified, even after the passage of many years. At times it becomes unclear where many disputed works actually fall in the ever-changing continuum. At first inspection, Caveat Emptor presents blue-chip works that could potentially be seen in a group exhibition at any museum, institution, or private collection; yet in truth, one is essentially viewing legal evidence.

Beyond the complexities of forensic evidence that serve to authenticate works, numerous additional issues arise when the competing interests of artists’ estates and legacies intersect with institutional acceptance or denial and countless legal issues. Caveat Emptor will run for two weeks and during the second week the Federal Bureau of Investigation will set up a registration office in the gallery in conjunction with the
--> fourth International Conference on Cyber Security (ICCS2013) being held at Fordham University. The forgeries on the walls will serve as the backdrop for their office during the conference.
Stephan Apicella-Hitchcock & Daniel Small, 2013

All works courtesy of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Office

For more information please contact: Stephan Apicella-Hitchcock: apicellahit@fordham.edu

Image caption: The Rembrandt Database, Rembrandt, Self Portrait, dated 1629, Alte Pinakothek, München, inv. no. 11427 (top); Installation shot, courtesy of Daniel Small (bottom)

Press:
Art in America
The Huffington Post
Hyperallergic
Fordham Notes
e-skop
Jaque al arte
the National Arts Program
Galerie Michael
Community Arts NYC
Radio Romania Cultural
The Verge

Postcard project for Cabinet Magazine


















My son with his great-grandfather, 3/13/2011, 2:52 PM Japan Standard Time, postcard project for Cabinet Magazine, issue number 4, Spring 2013

All the visible features of an area of countryside or land, often considered in terms of their aesthetic appeal










  











All the visible features of an area of countryside or land, often considered in terms of their aesthetic appeal

The Center Gallery
Fordham University at Lincoln Center
113 West 60th Street
New York, NY 10023
June 10 – July 19, 2013
Reception: Monday, June 10, 6 – 8
Website 

Including:
John Calhoun
Sigrid Jakob
Saul Metnick
Chihiro Nishio
Kota Sake
Daniel Seiple
Eric van Hove

Curator: Stephan Apicella-Hitchcock

All the visible features of an area of countryside or land, often considered in terms of their aesthetic appeal brings together seven artists from Belgium, Germany, Japan, and the United States working in different mediums to explore the idea of what a landscape can potentially be. The lengthy title of this exhibition is simply a dictionary definition of the word “landscape;” however, it hints at the complexity of what a landscape is, particularly in regards to the notion of visibility. The artists in this exhibition continually play with this prerequisite of visibility as stated in the dictionary definition and nowhere is this questioning more evident than in the ephemeral space delineated by a rainbow on the exhibition’s invitation. The American author Rebecca Solnit wrote in her book, Wanderlust: A History of Walking, that “A path is a prior interpretation of the best way to traverse a landscape.” In light of this quotation, this exhibition is a landscape without a path, or perhaps seven different paths of varying natures.

John Calhoun’s monumental time-lapse drawing chronicles a period of 77 days in the studio between 2010 and 2013. Examined at the micro level, the drawings resemble psychological Rorschach tests, yet the numerous smaller elements come together to create a much larger image of a lake in northern Germany. The work simultaneously represents both a description of place, in addition to a description of an unfolding process over time.

One Kilometer by Sigrid Jakob is an ongoing forensic investigation into a peripheral area of fields and forest just outside the village of her birth. This area is a prime example of bucolic southern German countryside, and serves a variety of uses such as agriculture, hunting, and recreation. However, vague childhood memories, rumors, and odd apparitions suggest other time periods and other uses. Over the years, Sigrid Jakob has attempted to piece together the full story of this landscape through research, photography, and interviews with witnesses.

The ten black and white images by Saul Metnick are an excerpt from an ongoing exploration of the transitions, in-betweens, and non-spaces encountered during travels in the Southwest. The body of work examines the rapid and recent growth in Colorado and Nevada, particularly focused on the overwhelmingly utilitarian and non-descript aesthetic of the architecture, the perfunctory engineering, and the often overlooked spaces.

A View, by Chihiro Nishio, consists of a drawing and a video documenting the artist in a studio setting as she repeatedly attempts to trace passing vehicles from a projected video. This ongoing activity has been presented in Japan as site-specific work in progress with the drawings made in pencil directly on the wall; however, in this iteration for Fordham University’s Center Gallery the drawings have been translated into vinyl and applied directly to the gallery’s glass walls and doors. What upon first inspection presents itself as decorative filigree, turns out to be directly related to a rigorous, yet absurd endeavor.

Kota Sake’s Menu, is a 48 page, 7” x 7” book containing an assortment of dishes prepared for him at Kagawa, an establishment located in front of his studio in the neighborhood of Araiyakushi in Tokyo, Japan. Kagawa is a small, local izakaya (a type of Japanese drinking establishment which also serves food), so most customers live in the area and come after work. The food at Kagawa is not particularly fancy Japanese food, nor is it instant, fast food. For Sake, going to Kagawa to eat carefully made foods, drink Sapporo beer, and meet with locals is relaxing and provides a sense of home after a long day.

Daniel Seiple’s collaborative project with woodcarver Gavin Smith, Can't see the trees for the wood, takes place at Smith’s home in Corgarff, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Guided as much by intuition and instincts as conversation, Seiple walks, drinks, and eats with Smith, then finally clears his barnyard, which is overrun with weeds and littered with large stacks of wood. In order to salvage the boards, they are stacked in the form of a five-ton house inspired by the British Arts & Crafts movement. A tunnel leads to a staircase, which ascends to the roof, from which Smith can overlook his clutter and view the landscape.

Making Sidi Ali Rainbows is a video by Eric van Hove made in Marrakesh in 2011, as well as this exhibition’s invitation image. The artist, standing in an empty pool, repeatedly spits mouthfuls of a popular spring water brand (Sidi Ali) and creates a series of small rainbows. The duration of the event is brief and dictated by the amount of water held by the bottle.

Stephan Apicella-Hitchcock, 2013

Image captions: (top) Making Sidi Ali Rainbows, Eric van Hove, video still, total running time 170 seconds, 2011 (below, left to right) John Calhoun, Sigrid Jakob, Saul Metnick, Chihiro Nishio, Kota Sake, Daniel Seiple

Half-Frames






















Half-Frames
The Lipani Gallery
Fordham University at Lincoln Center
113 West 60th Street
New York, NY 10023
June 1 – July 31, 2013
Reception: Wednesday, June 5, 6 – 8 PM
Website

Curators: Stephan Apicella-Hitchcock and Anibal Pella-Woo

Half-Frames brings together twenty-one prints made from the original color transparencies held in the personal archive of J. Joseph Lynch, S.J., a mathematics and seismology professor at Fordham University from 1950 to 1967. He also ran the William Spain Seismological Station at Fordham University’s Rose Hill campus for some 60 years. Through our research at the Fordham University Archive, we were pleased to discover that J. Joseph Lynch, S.J. was an avid photographer, as well as a teacher.

The title Half-Frames refers to the dimensions of the original color transparencies utilized in this exhibition, which are one half the size of a standard 35mm frame. This smaller format was often chosen because it doubled the number of images that one could make from a single roll of 35mm film and was more cost effective. Consequently, it was often used to document topics of a personal nature and was generally utilized in a more casual manner. Our edit from a much larger set of slides made in the 1960s by J. Joseph Lynch, S.J. displays this trend and highlights his spontaneous approach to documenting travels, events, people, and places. Our criteria for image selection stemmed from our mutual enthusiasm for his images, which resonated with contemporary directions in photography from the period such as the snapshot aesthetic and interests in the vernacular within the medium of photography.

We would like to give special thanks to Patrice Kane at the Fordham University Archive housed at the Rose Hill campus’ Walsh Family Library for facilitating this exhibition. Her initial suggestion to look at several photographs of icebergs held in the archive started us on a winding investigation that resulted in the exhibit that you now see before you. Although there are no icebergs in this exhibition, the image of the iceberg, with all its hidden potential, is an appropriate metaphor for an archive – what you see at first is only a small part of the picture.

Stephan Apicella-Hitchcock and Anibal Pella-Woo, 2013

All images courtesy of the Reverend J. Joseph Lynch S.J. Collection of the Fordham University Archives

Memo



















Memo, 2012, lead on paper, h 14.76 x w 10.73 (and enlargement)
Exhibited in: Compounds of a Prism, 23 August 2012
another vacant space
Biesentalerstrasse 16
D-13359 Berlin
Germany/ Deutschland
Curator: Adam Nankervis
Website

After flying from Rome, to Tokyo, to New York, a single dot was made with 2mm lead on a sheet of paper from a hotel pad. The mark was made at 113 West 60th Street, New York, NY 10023 USA in sub level room SL24Q on Wednesday August 23, 2012 at approximately 18:11.

The lead holder was red, with aluminum grip, nickel-plated brass fittings, and plastic barrel marked “ITALY KOH-I-NOOR TECNIGRAPH 5611” in silver. The lead advance push button was black.

The sheet of paper was approximately 14.76 cm high by 10.73 cm wide with an off-white coloration hinting towards yellow. The word “MEMO” is written at the top in a light blue. The words “EXCEL HOTEL TOKYU” are at the bottom of the sheet contained in a small blue box with the type knocked out to paper white. The words “TOKYU HOTELS” are directly below in blue. The paper was taken from the Haneda Excel Hotel Tokyu at Haneda Airport, 3-4-2, Hanedakuko, Ota-ku, Tokyo 144-0041 Japan.

"Artists have been invited to contribute work, a refraction from the prism of their process, a kernel of a work, signaling a fragment of change, and metamorphosis. the amputation from a greater field, where the signal is made a seed, a refraction as opposed to a reflection of the intended portent. This focus point/ vanishing point hints to a further whole, contained in an assembly of vitrines through out another vacant space. The vitrine cases measure 40cm/ 50cm.

The essence of this exhibition is to take a microcosmic element of your work, a fragment, a kernel to be installed in a vitrine case within the space. This element may be a sketch, an object, a notation to be exhibited as part of a whole in homage to the artist Kurt Schwitters." — Adam Nankervis


Dah Di-dah-dah Dah-dah-dah, Di-dah-di-dit Dah-dah-dah Di-di-di-dah Dit Di-dah-dit Di-di-dit


Dah Di-dah-dah Dah-dah-dah, Di-dah-di-dit Dah-dah-dah Di-di-di-dah Dit Di-dah-dit Di-di-dit, 1985 (approx.) – 2011, h 20 cm x w 13 cm (h 8” x w 5”), 82 page pocket book, black and white text pages printed on 60-pound (90g/m2) cream-colored paper, 4-color front and back cover. Project for Markers 8, International Artists’ Museum Artura/Projective, ArtLife for the World Contemporary Art Space, Venice, Italy.

Translate the long and short signals of Morse code contained in this pocket book into English and you will have detailed walking directions generated by Google Maps from the Venice, Italy gallery in which you are standing to a specific location.

The Google Maps algorithm will bring you on some rather mysterious and seemingly pointless detours along the way, including two segments of the journey by ship; nevertheless, the instructions will eventually get you from point A to point B. Follow this walking route for approximately three days and eleven hours – 2,180 km – and you will arrive at a corner where two lovers used to meet in a black and white film from 1962.

On top of a pedestrian handrail at the intersection you will find a yellow key for a small locker in the Ueno train station in Tokyo, Japan. When you try to use this key to open locker number 6107 it will no longer work because by now the three hundred Yen locker fee has long since ran out, the contents have been taken to the lost and found, and the lock has been changed. So, present the key to the station’s lost and found department and they will hand you a Maxell UR 90 Tinted Oval Window Cassette Shell / POSITION•NORMAL / JAPAN•JAPON cassette.

There are no labels or distinguishing features on the cassette itself. Nor is there any label, or information on the cassette case, save for the fact that the cassette case spine is completely blacked out with marker pen. This is your prize. It is the most valuable thing that I can give to you. You hold my future in your hands.

This cassette tape was fabricated in Japan sometime during the mid-80s, exported to the United States, and purchased in the New York region. The tape was subsequently used to record a conversation between a family member and a psychic. It was, amongst other things, about the possible directions that my life would take. However, after the family member’s death in 2005, and prior to having the opportunity to listen to the tape, the cassette was erased.

In 2009 the erased cassette was brought back to Japan from the United States and presented to a diminutive Japanese psychic who can consistently be found at the corner of Kuyakusho Dōri and Yasukuni Dōri in Shinjuku, Tokyo. After a careful investigation of the tape, the Japanese psychic stated that since the erased recording was originally in English, a language that she didn’t understand, she was not able to decipher it, whereas had the erased recording been in Japanese she would have been able to.

After an improvised ceremony, I quietly placed the cassette in locker 6107, locked it, and walked away with the locker's yellow key. The Maxell UR 90 Tinted Oval Window Cassette Shell / POSITION•NORMAL / JAPAN•JAPON cassette sat in the darkness of the locker until my three hundred Yen ran out and a station attendant took the locker’s solitary object to the lost and found. It now waits for you there, our futures interlocked as the erased tape predicted.

A dangerous letter sent in the spirit of friendship

A dangerous letter sent in the spirit of friendship, 2011, h 11” x w 8.5”, 1 page letter, black and white text, sand

The letter reads:

113 West 60th Street, RM 423
New York, NY 10023

Saturday, December 9, 2010

An Exchange with Sol LeWitt
c/o Cabinet 300 Nevins Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217

Dear Ms. Basha

Please find enclosed sand from Tottori, Japan where Hiroshi Teshigahara filmed his 1964 film Woman in the Dunes. If you have seen this film, then you understand how dangerous this sand can be. Accordingly, I have included only a small amount with this letter.

Thank you for your consideration,

Stephanie Francis

Pin pricks on white A4 size paper alternately viewed in front of a light source and underneath it, August 22 2010


Pin pricks on white A4 size paper alternately viewed in front of a light source and underneath it, Sunday, August 22, 2010, Japan Standard Time
Black Stars on a White Sky
September 4 2010 Chateau de Sacy 1 rue Verte 60190 Sacy-le Petit France
Museum MAN-Chateau de Sacy Picardy France July 2010
Jean Cocteau Notre Dame de France altar London May 1 201

Curator: Adam Nankervis

Tomorrow I will leave the house, or more appropriately "the home," for the first time in ten days. I will walk out the front door, wait for the crossing light to change from red, to yellow, to green, look both ways, cross the street, turn right and walk approximately fifteen steps down the street to the post office here on the island of Hikoshima in Shimonoseki, Japan. I will mail you a white sheet of A4 size paper. There is nothing written on the piece of paper; however, I sat with a pin and made hundreds of small pin pricks in the paper. Each pin prick was accompanied with a clearly spoken "ow." It seemed to be a miniature trip out into the farthest possible reaches of the galaxy, or was it a journey deep into the complexities of a molecular system?

As You Wish


As You Wish (Project for KUNSTrePUBLIK's Angst hat grosse Augen, [Fear has Big Eyes] Angst in Form/Art in Public Space), 2010, four one-color, offset printed posters wheat paste glued in varying configurations throughout Halle, Germany, individual poster dimensions h 84.1 centimeters (33.1 inches) x w 59.4 centimeters (23.4 inches). Installation and installation images by Daniel Seiple, 2010

Poster #1 translation: 10,000 Marks Reward. Who is the murderer? Since Monday, 11th June this year, the following have disappeared: the school-children Klaus Klawitsky and his sister Klara, who live at 470 Müller Street. Various evidence leads us to believe that the children were victims of a similar crime to that committed last autumn against the Doering sisters.

Poster #2 translation: particularly serious case of theft, theft from kindergarten, theft from parking meter, unknown perpetrators broke violently into a gazebo, a tv was stolen and probably drinks, theft of potting soil, theft of camping furniture, chainsaws stolen, screwdriver stolen, wallet stolen, two trees, two peonies and several carnations plants stolen, two trees stolen, two peonies stolen, several carnations stolen, kitchen appliances stolen, unknown perpetrators stole a chopper and solar lamps, photographic technology stolen, car headlight stolen, drinks were stolen, drill stolen, a hair-cutting machine was stolen, garden equipment stolen, chain saws and cordless screwdrivers stolen, diesel drained, unknown perpetrators broke violently into a gazebo and a tool shed and stole a drill, a screwdriver, a saw, a brush cutter, five solar lights, a tent, a fountain pump, and a garden gnome, saw stolen, brush cutter stolen, five solar lights stolen, tent stolen, garden gnome stolen, fountain pump stolen, fish dead, mailbox destroyed, a gazebo on fire.

Poster #3 translation: Puzzle title: ...but the foreigner didn't want to commit crimes, use your welfare system, ask difficult questions, cause anxiety, bring disease, crowd your cities, be insensitive to cultural differences, steal your jobs, dilute ethnic purity, contaminate the homeland, murder Klaus Klawitsky, his sister Klara and the Doering sisters, or steal your plants and potting soil.
Please try to understand and fill in the blanks! Answer: On Tuesday a foreigner came to Germany from New York through Madrid and made posters about angst.

Poster #4 translation: Then I can't remember anything. And afterwards I see those posters and read what I've done. And read and read. Did I do that?

The following essay was written by Daniel Seiple in 2010 for the Angst hat grosse Augen exhibition catalog:

Upon looking at the art of Stephan Apicella Hitchcock, one walks into a contortion of time between real and fictional narratives in which the artist interweaves his own travels with the history and structure of films, art history, people, and places. In the last year alone he has tick tacked around the globe from New York to Cairo, Beirut, Tokyo, Madrid, Berlin, and Italy. At each location a work has been created, an image shot, or souvenir taken. I am a detective retracing his steps, picking up the static images in order to recompose time, and piling into his writings that were left behind as if by a criminal teasing his pursuers.

In June of this year a cryptic advertisement was distributed in Halle, Germany which became the impetus for my writing. A text on the top half is littered with blank spaces like a MadLib, and on the bottom half answers are provided: “Warning! Very soon a person will be coming to Germany/The Czech Republic from a foreign country through Madrid.” Months earlier, Hitchcock had submitted a proposal to KUNSTrePUBLIK to make a series of posters for the Angst exhibition that played upon fears caused by the welfare crisis, local unemployment, and the outsourcing of jobs. The advertisement continued: “Foreign _________ are often blamed for ________ during difficult economic times. (…) On that note does it help to ________ another _________ artist?” The blanks appear to lead to a personal reflection: When this foreigner, presumably Hitchcock himself, visits Halle for the first time, what angst will he find? Will he experience xenophobic suspicions at the shop that prints his posters? Is his proposal already complicated by his identity as a foreign worker, a tourist, or an imported artist? What business does he have trying to voice local concerns for a place he’s never been to, anyway?

Several years ago a series of photos surfaces that document every step from the pitcher’s mound to the dugout of the Encino Little League Baseball Field, in Encino California – where the character Stacy from the movie, Fast Times in Ridgemont High (1982), loses her virginity. In 2009, the photos are presented at a gallery in Berlin as the artwork of Stephan Apicella Hitchcock. Although the photographer never reveals himself in the photos, his presence is eerily felt as the viewer is invited to step into his shoes. Furthermore, the visitors are invited to take one of the photos home, until no more remain. Over the course of the opening the work transforms from unified to fragmented to gone. The evidence of Hitchcock’s walk to the dugout is now dispersed as a series of clues, creating an invisible line forever connecting those who took the photos.

Three years after the first appearance of the Encino photos, I watch a short film by Hitchcock, which focuses on the grave of moviemaker, Yasujiro Ozu, in Kita-Kamakura, Japan. The image jitters and colors undulate, betraying the construction as a contrived, not-so-singular moment. Fleetingly, the images do come together and perhaps the untrained eye might suspect faulty playback equipment or improperly exposed film. But upon traveling to Japan myself, I realize it would be next to impossible for crows, which are generally heard in autumn, to sing with cicadas that only chirp in summer – as it is recorded on the soundtrack. As I deconstruct the work, it becomes evident that Hitchcock shot the grave three times with each take filtered in a different primary color. In what becomes Nonsynchronous Five Times (2007-08), Hitchcock superimposes each sequence in order to create the impression of one singular, color take. As I ponder the potential reasons for this elaborate construction, I recall Ozu’s own methodical nature and use of a fixed camera.

And then, just as I have the feeling of coming closer to Hitchcock’s world, of which I only describe but a few artworks, a profile for the man appears on Facebook which announces the sale of all of the artist’s works that are “still in his possession, as well as the ownership rights to works that were generated, but destroyed.” The various lots reflect a prolific production. They are offered free of charge, first come first serve. At the conclusion of the auction, all descriptions, negotiations, transactions, correspondences as well as the artist’s friends are deleted leaving little evidence to substantiate any exchange (Part Tool, Part Trap, 2009) or artwork at all. Although I would imagine that with a little bit of digging, one could find evidence of the auction on the buyers’ profiles, or deep in Facebook’s servers. Everything leaves a trace.

In summer 2010 in Halle, four posters are spotted around town, conspicuously written in an old German script. The first is a poster of a poster, a screen grab of a film still from Fritz Lang’s dramatic thriller, M, when Hans Bekert (played by Peter Lorre), a murdering pedophile, steps into the frame and casts a shadow over a his own wanted poster. If the poster is by Hitchcock, it is a trademark move of setting his personal and artistic process within a cinematic narrative. Not quite an attempt of Wellsian (non)fictional drama, he dangles a bit of his own cultural research and presents a typographic parallel with the street signs in Halle.

The next poster to catch my eye is a crossword puzzle. I scribble it down in my notebook and take it to the coffee shop to decipher. The answers confirm my hunch and Hitchcock’s message in the advertisement: A foreigner has indeed arrived and made posters about Angst! On the poster next to this, a word search presents the local police blotter concurrent to the week that Hitchcock has visited Halle. In contrast to the serial murders by Bekert, the crimes in Halle portray a more or less blue-collar town with either desperate or juvenile criminals thieving items like potting soil and brush cutters as well as smashing mailboxes. But rather than finding the criminals, the poster sets up the game of finding the crimes, and with a spirit similar to Bekert’s letter announcing his deeds to the newspaper.

On the fourth poster, again in the old script, I read what appears to be a self-referential and cryptic admission. I follow up the first poster later that night by watching M. The movie is haunting, not just because of the convincing story, but because of the ease at which the populace is moved to mob rule after the wanted poster stirs up public angst, paranoia, and vigilantism. Beckert eludes the authorities, but is eventually captured and tried by the local mafia. In front of this kangaroo court, as a wide-eyed and crazed Beckert gives his impassioned plea to the criminals who will have his head, I hear the words written on that final poster: Then I can't remember anything. And afterwards I see those posters and read what I've done. And read and read. Did I do that?

35minutesmen


35minutesmen
大同朋子 Tomoko Daido, 福村順平 Junpey Fukumura, ペイ PAI,
酒航太 Sake Kota, 長広恵美子 Emiko Nagahiro, 真田敬介 Keisuke Sanada,
塩田正幸 Masayuki Shioda

Curated by Stephan Apicella-Hitchcock & Anibal Pella-Woo
Essay by Taro Nettleton

Translations by Akiko Nakamura
35minutesmen book, 71 pages, color with essays in English and Japanese

Fordham University Center Gallery
Lincoln Center Campus
113 West 60th Street at Columbus Avenue
New York, NY 10023

On view: November 6 – December 19, 2010
Opening reception: Friday, November 12, 6 – 8 pm
The Center Gallery is open everyday from 8 am – 8 pm

“35minutesmen” brings together a sampling of work from a Tokyo based collective of photographers in the format of a gallery exhibition and accompanying book with essay. The collective existed for just one year, yet they created a tremendous volume of work that was displayed in a series of monthly exhibitions held in their gallery – a now defunct Fuji film 35 minute processing lab.

While I was living in Tokyo in the fall of 2009, Taro Nettleton, a former student from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, introduced me to a small group of photographers that he knew – the “35minutesmen.” I went to a number of monthly openings at their gallery; however, the exhibition space was so small and the crowd was so large that I rarely got into the space to actually see the photographs. Regardless, I knew that the community that these seven photographers were generating was exciting and would be inspirational for students as a model for maintaining production and fostering connections after undergraduate school.

It seemed appropriate in light of the communal nature of their endeavor that the material would need to be organized by more than one person, so Anibal Pella-Woo and I decided to work on this project as co-curators. Our working method of putting this exhibition together was very organic, low fidelity, and do-it-yourself, not unlike the manner that things get accomplished in a collective – which is to say, slowly and on the smallest of budgets. First, a year’s worth of images were sent from the seven photographers in Tokyo via email and edited in New York down to a working group of 60. Then the continuation of the curatorial process took place in emails sent over the course of three months between New York, Italy, and Japan.

Anibal printed out a set of small test prints in New York on an ink jet printer and I printed out the same set at a drugstore while traveling in the south of Japan. Interesting image pairings were arranged on tabletops in New York, taped to hotel walls while teaching in Rome, shuffled, examined, photographed, and exchanged by email once again. Ideas and opinions were discussed and clarified thanks to Gmail. Even the exhibition postcard image of the “35minutesmen” gallery space was acquired by traveling to Japan via Google Earth and utilizing its “street level view.”

In light of Taro Nettleton’s closeness to the “35minutesmen” scene (he grew up in Japan with one of the collective’s members) we decided that he would be best suited to provide a detailed look into the history and working nature of the group. His insightful essay found in the exhibition catalog also bounced its way between Japan, New York, and Rome numerous times before arriving at its present state.

Faced with the challenge of organizing images made over the course of one year by different people with different concerns, an appropriate selection criteria and organizational schema was a necessity. Initially this entailed looking at the photographs with basic formal concerns in mind and centered on creating visual connections within the group of images. We then branched out into looking at the possibilities of contrasting photographic meanings, context, and pacing. To take a year of work from a disparate group of people and distill it into a singular statement seems to go against the grain of the “35minutesmen” spirit, which was what drew us to them in the first place. In fact, the variety of black and white photographs, color photographs, traditional film based photographs, digital photographs, Polaroid photographs, and sizes all testify to the range of styles within this group of "like-minded" individuals. Consequently, the photographs and sequencing of photographs in this show represent but one of the many ways that they could have been organized.

Duplicating the raucous energy of their openings is an impossibility, as is the inclusion of every image generated by the group; nevertheless, the images on display will serve to give some idea of the variety of photographic strategies and interests that are currently in play in a small collective, in a small area of Tokyo called Araiyakushi. The do-it-yourself nature of the “35minutesmen” project, their communal spirit, and energy will hopefully serve as encouragement for young photographers and emerging artists to create their own peer support structure and exhibition opportunities regardless of their divergent interests – in fact, perhaps all the more so because of them.

Stephan Apicella-Hitchcock and Anibal Pella-Woo, 2010

For additional information please see the 35minutesmen website Alternately, email Stephan Apicella-Hitchcock apicellahit@fordham.edu or Anibal Pella-Woo pella@fordham.edu

本「35minutesmen」展は、東京在住の写真家グループによる作品を、展覧会と併せてエッセイを収録したカタログを通して紹介するものである。1年間限定で集まったこのグループは、短期間で膨大な量の作品を制作、そしてそれを月に一度、廃業した35分仕上げのDPEショップで展示していたのだった。

僕が東京に住んでいた2009年秋、ボストンのミュージアム・スクール出身のネトルトン・タロウが紹介してくれた写真家達、それが「35minutesmen」だった。オープニングの日が来るたびに、僕は何度となく彼らのギャラリーへと足を運んだ。ただし、ものすごく狭い展示スペースに訪れる観客はかなりの人数にのぼったため、実際に中に入って写真を見られることは滅多になかった。それでも僕は、この7人の写真家によって生み出されたコミュニティを面白いと思ったし、また学生達にとっては、卒業後いかに制作を継続して繋がっていけるかということの、ひとつの手本になるんじゃないかという気がしていた。

彼らの試みのコミューン的性質を踏まえると、今回の写真展も複数の人間でオーガナイズするのがふさわしいと思い、アニバル・ペラ=ウーと僕は共同キュレーターとしてこのプロジェクトを進めることにした。展覧会開催にこぎつけるまでの過程はかなり有機的かつローファイかつDIY、これはつまりチームで何かを成し遂げる時の作法とも言えるもので、最小予算内でゆっくりと進んでいった。まず東京にいる7人の写真家達からeメールでニューヨークに送られてきた1年分の写真を、60枚にまで絞った。それからさらに3ヶ月間、eメールによるニューヨーク、イタリア、日本間でのキュレーションに関するやり取りが続いた。

ニューヨークにいるアニバルが、選んだ写真の縮小版をインクジェット・プリンタでプリントアウトし、日本南部を旅行中だった僕も同じものをコンビニでプリントした。ニューヨークでは、それらが興味深いペアの組み写真として机の上に並べられ、僕が講師として滞在したローマのホテルの部屋でも壁にテープで貼られたりしながら、さらにシャッフルされ、吟味され、並べた写真が再度撮影されてeメールで交換された。アイデアや意見を交わしながら整理していく際には、Gメールが役立った。ちなみにこの写真展のDMに使われている35minutesmenの拠点となったギャラリーの画像も、グーグルアースのストリートビューを利用して手に入れたものだ。

ネトルトン・タロウは「35minutesmen」シーンとごく近しい関係にあり(彼は日本育ちでメンバーのひとりとは幼なじみである)、このグループの歴史と本質を洞察するのには、彼が最も適役であるということで僕達の意見は一致した。写真展のカタログに収録された彼の見識あるエッセイもまた、完成までに何度も日本、ニューヨーク、ローマを飛び交ったのだった。

様々な関心を持つ様々な人間が1年間かけて撮った写真をまとめるという難題を抱えた本展覧会には、何らかの選択基準と体系化が必要だった。そういうわけで僕達はまず、ごく基本的なスタイルの問題を念頭に写真を吟味し、そこに視覚的な関係性を見出すという作業を重点的に行なった。そしてそれをさらに発展させて、写真的な意味、文脈、緩急をふまえた対置の可能性を探っていった。それぞれに全く異なる写真家達が撮った1年分の作品をひとつのステイトメントとして提示することは、そもそも僕達が惹かれた本来のもの、つまり「35minutesmen」精神の本質に反するようにも思えた。実際ここに見られる、白黒、カラー、昔ながらのフィルム写真、デジタル写真、ポラロイド、そして大小織り交ぜた様々なサイズといった多様性が、このグループ内のスタイルの幅広さを物語っている。よって最終的に選んだ写真とその配置も、あり得た多くの可能性のうちの、ひとつの見せ方にすぎない。

彼らのオープニングでの喧しいエネルギーをここで再現することは、彼らが生み出した写真を全て見せることと同様に、不可能だ。それでもなお、今回展示された写真からは、東京にある新井薬師という小さな町に集った小さなグループが実践した数々の写真手法とその多様さの、一旦を窺い知ることが出来るだろう。そして僕達は、「35minutesmen」のDIY精神、共同体的性質、そしてそのエネルギーが刺激となって、若手写真家やアーティスト達が、関心は異なれども——いやむしろ異なるからこそ——仲間同士で支え合う仕組みを作り、自ら発表の機会を作り出すようになることを、心から願っている。

スティーブン・アピチェラ=ヒッチコック/アニバル・ペラ=ウー, 2010

35minutesmen 2009 – 2010: On the Passage of a Few People Through A Defunct Photo Lab in One Year, by Taro Nettleton, 2010, translation by Akiko Nakamura

Between April 2009 and March 2010, seven photographers organized a monthly photography exhibition series called “35minutesmen” in a small, long inoperative photo-processing lab in Araiyakushi, a fairly ordinary and slightly inconveniently located neighborhood in Tokyo. Formed around a mall-like street with convenience stores and izakayas [bars offering food] leading from the train station, Araiyakushi is much like many other neighborhoods in Tokyo – a quiet and unlikely home for an alternative exhibition space.

Above the awning of the exhibition space still hangs a sign reading “35mins,” after which the exhibition series took its name. Despite the masculine title, which pays homage in equal parts to the previous life of the space and to San Pedro, California’s finest D.I.Y. band the Minutemen, the series comprised the works of three women and four men who called themselves “Araiyakushi Photographers’ Society,” or “A.P.S.” – an acronym appropriated from the now obsolete alternative film system.

The images that A.P.S. produced were extremely varied. Sake Kota, whose schizophrenic work looks as if it were made by several different conceptual artists, provided the exhibition space. Masayuki Shioda brought the other artists – Junpey Fukumura, Emiko Nagahiro, Tomoko Daido, PAI, and Keisuke Sanada – into the Society. Shioda, who showed two 11x14 images of flora and smaller “scene” shots from the 35minutesmen openings in every show, has also photographed for such magazines as Esquire Japan and Studio Voice (both now defunct), and made a name for himself with his enigmatic “photo brut” images frequently associated with fringe music culture.

For Shioda, who is also the show’s most articulate spokesperson, “35minutesmen” was akin to a Fluxus event. Most known for its work of the 1960s, Fluxus was an international group of artists whose works aimed to blur the boundaries between art and everyday life, privileging ephemeral works such as multiples and “events,” i.e. performances based on instructional texts, over traditional fine art pieces such as painting and sculpture. Likewise, “35minutesmen” was not simply about the prints displayed on the walls. As Shioda understood it, the entire exhibition process, including the interpersonal relations and circumstances it generated, was the work. In this respect, it may be more accurate to say that “35minutesmen” was like “relational art,” a term Nicolas Bourriand coined to describe work from the 1990s, which instead of offering private experiences, provided situations and encouraged viewers to socially interact with one another and, ideally, even form a community. “35minutesmen” certainly privileged human interactions; it even helped forge new social relations. Before every opening, the local police station had to be informed of the event and subsequently bribed to keep the show from being closed down. On one night, a newly opened Okinawan noodle shop next door (which has since closed) extemporaneously fed gallery visitors. From the last Saturday to Monday of each month, 35minutesmen was a bender, forum for discussing photography, culinary experience, a place for New Zealanders to get together, and others to make new friends, or skateboarding plans.

While relational art emphasizes the production of small and temporary, but nonetheless utopian, communities, “35minutesmen” was much less grandiose; it embraced the contradictions and antagonisms that are necessarily a part of any democratic endeavor. As one might guess from looking at the disparity between the photographs included here, both aesthetic and personal connections between the photographers were, in many cases, tenuous. Oddly for an independently organized and alternative exhibition series, the main thread that tied the photographers together was that all of them except Daido and PAI worked at different times at the same rental photography studio. Of the seven photographers, Fukumura, who now shoots stills on adult video sets, has remained closest to this context of commercial studio photography. In contrast, Daido, a New York resident, shoots expressive, high contrast black-and-white images rooted in the tradition of 1970s street photography. PAI, on the other hand, is a prolific zine publisher, who primarily shoots confrontationally-posed portraits of subjects associated with “street culture.”

Not organized by theme, “35minutesmen” was hardly a group show in the normal sense of the word. The fact that a group of people who have little in common would place arbitrary constraints on themselves to put up a monthly show is what made “35minutesmen” intriguing and remarkable. One story regarding the genesis of the project is that Shioda wanted to motivate his acquaintances, who were not actively showing their work. Another story is that the photographers, who are all roughly in their mid-30s, felt it was one of the last chances before middle age – which they feared would mean “settling down” – to participate in such a project (in fact, one of the photographers is having a baby soon). While the show was very open in terms of the people it drew and variety of works displayed, it was also very controlled, even school-like. As if for a critique, each of the seven photographers had to produce, without fail, a group of prints at the end of each month. On some months they had to put up photos they were unsatisfied with. Some of the photographers had recurring nightmares about the end of the month deadline catching them unprepared. As a frequent visitor to the show, even I felt the guilt of an unproductive month having passed when I was invited to a 35minutesmen opening.

Keisuke Sanada, who once had to return early from a trip to New York to attend “35minutesmen,” cooked on most of the opening nights. He confessed to me recently that cooking was, for him, the most important aspect of the show. In his view, there was no reason to pretend that art openings are about anything other than the drinking, eating, and socializing, particularly in Tokyo where few artworks sell even in more commercial galleries. In this light, it makes sense that 35minutesmen would promote social gatherings rather than private aesthetic experiences, if only for pragmatic reasons. For Emiko Nagahiro, who showed a group of quietly emotive and warmly lit images, the most rewarding aspect of “35minutesmen” was cleaning up the gallery space after the openings. Significantly, Nagahiro and Sanada’s views focus on the catalysts and aftermath of fleeting interpersonal relations produced by the event.

For a show held in an out-of-the-way neighborhood, its biggest achievement may have been its assembling of a truly diverse group of people, among whom were artists, English teachers, photographers, graffiti writers, graphic designers, musicians, art critics, painters, a local bar owner, a street cleaner, a chef, a doctoral candidate, a popular magazine columnist, and an acclaimed fashion designer. To claim that photography is a democratic medium may be commonplace in 2010. “35minutesmen’s” use of photography as a catalyst for fostering democratic social relations, however, was a breath of fresh air, particularly in Tokyo’s contemporary art environment, where do-it-yourself projects too often feel regrettably self-involved.

2009年4月から2010年3月にかけて、7人の写真家達が、いささか交通の便が悪い東京の一角に位置する新井薬師という町の、長らく使われていなかったDPE店において、「35minutesmen」と呼ばれる写真展を毎月開いていた。コンビニや居酒屋が軒を連ねる駅前の商店街を中心に住宅地が広がる新井薬師は、東京の他の町とよく似た静かな地域であって、「オルタナティヴ展示スペース」というイメージからは大分かけ離れた空間だった。

この元店舗の看板には今も「35分」の文字が残されていて、写真展の名前の由来となっている。女性の写真家をも含むにも関わらず、この展覧会は、カリフォルニア州サンペドロが生んだ最高のDIYバンド・ミニットメンにオマージュを捧げる為「minutesmen」と題されていた。実際には、このシリーズ展では3人の女性と4人の男性による作品が展示され、彼らは自らを「新井薬師フォトグラファーズ・ソサエティ」もしくは「A.P.S.」と名乗っていた。ちなみに「A.P.S.」は、今や時代遅れとなった代替写真システム「Advanced Photo System」の略語を拝借したものだ。

A.P.S.メンバー達による写真は多様性を極めていた。まず、複数のコンセプチュアル・アーティストが制作したかに思えるほどスキゾフレニックな作風の酒航太が、この展示スペースの提供者である。そして毎回大四つ切りの植物写真2枚と、「35minutesmen」展のオープニングで撮影した小さな“シーン”写真数枚を展示した塩田正幸が、福村順平、長広恵美子、大同朋子、ペイ、真田敬介といった他の参加者達をソサエティに引き入れた。塩田は、『Esquire Japan』や『Studio Voice』(両誌とも今は廃刊)などの雑誌でも活躍し、マイナーなミュージック・カルチャーに縁が深く、「フォト・ブリュ的」とでも言えそうな作品で名を馳せた写真家である。

このシリーズ展の最も雄弁なスポークスマンでもある塩田にとって、「35minutesmen」はフルクサスのイベントに近いものだ。1960年代の活動が最もよく知られているフルクサスは、多国籍のアーティスト集団で、その作品はアートと日常の境界線を曖昧にすることを目的とし、絵画や彫刻といった伝統的なメディアではなく、マルティプルや“イベント”、つまりインストラクションに基づいたパフォーマンスなどの、 短命な作品を重視していた。「35minutesmen」もまた、単に写真を壁に展示しただけのものではなく、塩田が考えていたように、そこで生まれる人間関係や状況も含め、その全過程を作品の一部として提示したものだった。この意味において「35minutesmen」は、「relational aesthetics(関係性の美学)」に近いものと言えるかもしれない。「関係性の美学」とはニコラス・ブリオーが1990年代の芸術を説明する際に使った言葉で、それは、私的な鑑賞体験を提供する代わりに様々な状況を与えて、そこに参加した者同士が互いに影響を与え合い、理想的にはそれがコミュニティにまで発展する、というものである。「35minutesmen」は明らかに人と人との交流を重視していたし、実際新たな社会的関係を築くきっかけともなった。例えば、毎回オープニング前には近くの交番にイベント開催を知らせなければならなかった彼らは、のちに、イベントを中断させられないように賄賂を贈るようになったのだった。ある晩には、隣に新しく出来た(今は閉店してしまった)沖縄そば屋が、その場の勢いでギャラリー訪問者達にふるまってくれたこともあった。毎月の最終土曜日から月曜日にかけて、「35minutesmen」は酒場であり写真談義のフォーラムであり台所であり、なぜかニュージーランド人の社交場にもなっていたのだった。

「関係性の美学」が、小さく一時的でもユートピア的な共同体を作ることを重視しているのに対し、「35minutesmen」はもっと捌けたもので、民主的な試みにはつきものの矛盾や対立も受け入れていた。ここに含まれた作品相互の不均衡を見れば察しがつくかもしれないが、多くの場合において、彼らの間には美的もしくは個人的な関係性といったものが希薄だった。インディペンデントに組織されたオルタナティヴな展覧会としてはそれも妙な話なのだが、これらの写真家達を繋げていた横糸は、大同朋子とペイ以外の全員が、時期は違えど同じ撮影スタジオで働いていたということだけだった。7人の写真家のうち、AVの撮影現場でスチル撮影等をしている福村が、その商業写真の文脈に現在も一番近いところにいると言えるだろうか。それと対照的なのがニューヨーク在住の大同で、彼女は1970年代ストリート・フォトグラフィーの伝統を受け継ぐ、表現主義的かつハイコントラストな白黒写真を撮っている。一方ペイは精力的な“ジン”の発行者であり、主に“ストリート・カルチャー”界隈の人々を被写体としたポートレイトを撮っている。始めにテーマありきで集まったわけではない「35minutesmen」は、厳密にはグループ展と呼べるものではなかった。ほとんど共通点のない人間同士が集まり、任意の制約を自らに課して、月イチで写真展を開くという事実こそが、「35minutesmen」の魅力であり注目すべき点だったのだ。

このプロジェクトの発端に関してひとつ言うと、塩田は、それまで積極的に作品を見せていなかった知り合いにモチベーションを与えたかったのだという。さらにもうひとつ付け加えると、ほぼ全員が30代半ばであるこの写真家達は、中年——つまりこれは彼らにとって“落ち着く”ことを意味するのだが——に差し掛かり、こういったプロジェクトに参加するのもこれが最後のチャンスだと感じていたらしい(実際作家のひとりにはじきに子どもが生まれる)。この写真展は、招かれた人々の雑多さという意味でも展示された作品の幅広さという意味でもきわめて解放的だったけれども、一方ではかなり束縛的で、ある意味学校のようでもあった。クラスでの批評会のように、7人の作家達それぞれが月末ごとに必ず何点かの写真を制作してこなければならなかったのだ。月によっては、自分では納得出来ていない写真を展示しなければならないこともあったはずだ。そして、気づいたら月末の締切りが迫っていたという悪夢に何度もうなされた者もひとりではなかった。ただの鑑賞者である僕でさえ、「35minutesmen」のオープニングの招待が来る頃になると、今月は無駄に過ごしてしまったという罪悪感に襲われることがあった。

一度「35minutesmen」に参加するためニューヨーク滞在を早めに切り上げて帰国したこともあった真田敬介は、ほぼ毎回オープニングで料理を作っていた。最近彼が僕に打ち明けてくれたところによると、彼にとっては料理をすることこそがこの写真展で最も重要だったのだという。彼にとって、展覧会のオープニングはただの社交場以外であり、それ以上であるふりをする必要は全くないのだった。アート作品がほとんど売れない東京では、なおさらである。そういった実質的な理由からしても、「35minutesmen」が個人の美的経験ではなく社交という側面を押し出したのには納得がいく。 柔らかな光の、静謐かつ叙情的な写真を見せていた長広恵美子が「35minutesmen」で最もやりがいを感じたのは、オープニング後の掃除だったという。ここで特筆すべきは、長広と真田が、このイベントにおいて生まれた儚い人間関係の、きっかけと余波を重要視していたという点だろう。

ひっそりとした町で開かれたこの写真展にあって、その最大の達成は、本当に多彩な人々を呼び寄せたことにあると言えるかもしれない。そこにはアーティスト、英語教師、写真家、グラフィティ・アーティスト、グラフィック・デザイナー、ミュージシャン、美術評論家、画家、近所のバー経営者、清掃員、料理人、博士号志願者、人気雑誌のコラムニスト、一流ファッション・デザイナーなどが集まっていた。2010年にもなって、写真は民主的なメディアであると殊更に主張するのは、当たり前すぎるかもしれない。しかし「35minutesmen」が民主的な人間関係を育むための触媒として写真を利用したそのやり方は、新鮮なものだった。特に、残念ながら多くのDIYプロジェクトが自己陶酔に終わりがちな東京の現状においてそれは、新風を吹き込むものだったと言えるだろう。

Landscape Film (Tottori, Japan)


Landscape Film (Tottori, Japan), 2009, video, color, sound, total running time 1 minute and 52 seconds.

Landscape Film is partially constructed from material extracted from Hiroshi Teshigahara’s 1964 film Woman in the Dunes. The scenes utilized from Teshigahara’s film have been sequenced so that they show the protagonist walking through an empty landscape, then suddenly, without reason, breaking into a sprint and running out of the film. The screen in Landscape Film is divided between Teshigahara’s B&W footage and color footage shot in April 2009 in Tottori, Japan where Teshigahara made his film 45 years earlier.

I walked and filmed 199 steps in the Tottori sand dunes corresponding to each of the main character’s paces from the film. Once brought together side by side with Teshigahara’s footage, each of my steps was meticulously slowed down, or sped up to match the shifting gait of the central character.

The soundtrack is comprised of live sounds recorded during my walk and portions of the film’s ominous score. The synchronized footsteps on sand and powerful wind overloading the microphone function as additional sound effects duplicating the protagonist’s movements and environment.

The left channel's figure moving on screen serves as a document of a dubbing process, a point of view shot from Teshigahara’s actor, or potentially even someone pursuing the main character. Beyond the precise matching of the footsteps, the relationship between the footage, like the principal's behavior, is left ambiguous.

Black & White Video


Black & White Video, 2009, found balloon, three cubic yard dumpster, video, black and white, sound, total running time 1 minute and thirty seconds (balloon missing/destroyed). Project for Last Day of Magic, International Artists’ Museum Artura/Projective for Détournement, 2009 Venise, a collateral event of the 53rd Venice Biennale presented at ScalaMata Exhibition Space, Venice, Italy

In the fall of 2008 a black balloon blew down Kent Street in Brooklyn, New York and into my leg. I picked it up, took it to my studio, and bounced it between the studio wall and the front of a video camera. The balloon appears as a black shape on a white field, alternately decreasing in size, or occupying a progressively larger portion of the video camera frame, eventually hitting the front of the lens and blocking all light.

After I filmed the balloon, it sat on a shelf in my studio for five months, gradually shrinking, until I discarded it into the three cubic yard dumpster outside my door. Almost immediately after disposing of the deflated balloon, a friend asked if they could have it, so I climbed into the dumpster and with the assistance of a different friend I methodically emptied its contents into a number of large garbage bags.

Although we sifted through the refuse like meticulous archaeologists, we failed to locate the missing balloon. I checked each piece of trash as I returned it back into the dumpster; nevertheless, the absent balloon did not materialize. The black balloon drifted up to me, stayed for some months, and then vanished. Black & White Video and several images are all the remaining proof of the balloon.

My parents went to Venice and all I got was this lousy...


My parents went to Venice and all I got was this lousy youth sized Brazilian t-shirt of a dead man in a beach chair from a 1971 movie based on a German novella featuring an aristocratic Polish adolescent conceptualized by a third generation Italian from New York who had to sleep with the obsessed South Korean immigrant to get it made on May 5, 2009, 2009, silkscreen and heat transfer on youth t-shirt. Project for Culture Kiosk/Souvenir Art/Markers 7, International Artists’ Museum Artura/Projective for Détournement, 2009 Venise, a collateral event of the 53rd Venice Biennale presented at ScalaMata Exhibition Space, Venice, Italy

If a souvenir is a catalyst for a memory of a past experience, then what better way to remember Venice than by considering a corpse? This collaboration utilizes a classic “joke” t-shirt design from the seventies in which a number of different locations are inserted into the sentence formula “My parents went to (someplace) and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.” Regardless of the place referenced in the shirts, they all emphasize the simple disappointment with the shirt received over the experience enjoyed by the parents. In this instance, the specific information and history printed on the shirt is stretched to an unusual level.

Luchino Viconti’s 1971 film Death in Venice, a story of a famous author’s increasing fixation with a young boy, forms the starting point for a self-reflexive, run-on sentence that incorporates a number of additional details not normally found on souvenir t-shirts. This shirt integrates some of the complexities of its own history, from the origins of its manufacture, to the “labor negotiations” required for its production.

The shirt is printed on the front in English and in multiple languages on the inside of the shirt according to the nationalities referenced in the text. This provides a level of specificity; nevertheless, due to the utilization of online translation programs, numerous mistakes occur. The inaccuracies in translation mirror the loss of clarity often found in the bootlegging process as copies move further away from the original source material towards an international audience.

Moreover, the dead man referenced in the shirt’s text – actor Dirk Bogarde from the final scene of Visconti’s film – is not the image on the shirt, rather an image of a different dead man on a beach chair is utilized from the 1989 comedy film Weekend at Bernie's. The substitution of imagery from an entirely different film genre, made in a different country, from a different era, further emphasizes the inauthentic nature of this souvenir. This project is a collaboration with Jennie Jeun Lee.

Nonsynchronous Five Times


Nonsynchronous Five Times, 2007 – 2008, three RGB filtered black and white Super-8 reels transferred to DVD, color, sound, total running time 6 minutes and 16 seconds

Nonsynchronous Five Times investigates the difficulties of making something straightforward. Three black and white Super-8 film cassettes were shot in single takes from a fixed position looking onto the top of filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu's grave marker In Kita-Kamakura, Japan. Each of the three takes was shot at high speed and with a filter for one of the three additive primary colors (red, green, and blue). Superimposed atop one another and colorized accordingly, the three elements should combine to create a singular color take; however, any deviations between the three pieces of footage caused improper registration and undulating color shifts. The objective of creating one color take was complicated by numerous factors: wind moving the tripod and camera, wind causing ripples on the water atop the grave marker, wind causing movement of the trees and their reflections in the water, as well as changes in light conditions from shifting cloud cover.

The soundtrack is the narrative backbone of the work, providing a real-time documentation of the process of shooting three film cassettes. We hear one cycle of Ozu’s gravestone being washed, the camera running at high speed, the camera being reloaded, and the camera filters being changed. This cycle occurs in the fall (note crows) and in succession three times, once for each of the film cassettes and its associated additive primary filter (RGB). The second sound element was recorded at Ozu's grave marker, yet half a year later in the summer season (note cicadas). Attempts to get clean recordings were often thwarted in both situations by sounds drifting into Engakuji Temple – ambulance sirens, trains, or people walking and talking.

At times, the three pieces of film footage come together briefly in proper registration and work in creating a singular image. As well, at times the sound of cicadas is indistinguishable from the sound of the camera filming. However, most of the time, the five elements that make up this film are in various states, ultimately calling attention to the film's constructed nature. The RGB composite image track is present only for the first three minutes of the film, after which the film proceeds as a soundtrack only - filming three cassettes took six minutes; however, the cassettes are superimposed, not shown consecutively and accordingly take up less than the actual filming time.

12.9 miles, 24 minutes; 25.2 miles, 42 minutes; 18.8 miles, 54 minutes; 11.4 miles, 40 minutes


12.9 miles, 24 minutes; 25.2 miles, 42 minutes; 18.8 miles, 54 minutes; 11.4 miles, 40 minutes, 2009, video, color, silent, total running time 3 minutes and 5 seconds. Book: 2009, bound 162 page hardcover book, h 8" x w 10"

12.9 miles, 24 minutes; 25.2 miles, 42 minutes; 18.8 miles, 54 minutes; 11.4 miles, 40 minutes is a 3 minute and 5 second video comprised of one hundred sixty photographs taken consecutively on Friday, February 20, 2009. The images were shot from a fixed position in the back of a car with a digital camera on full automatic mode. All images were made at one-second intervals by means of a timer and the images are displayed in the order in which they were shot with no editing, or retouching. The information at the beginning of the video denotes the distances and times between three different IKEA locations and the information at the conclusion of the video refers to the exact times at which the three IKEA images were made. The book version of this project was conceptualized, executed, and bound within the same day. This project is a collaboration with Anibal J. Pella-Woo.

Part Tool, Part Trap


Part Tool, Part Trap, 2009, Facebook, assorted artworks

Part Tool, Part Trap was an auction that took place on Facebook over three weeks during which I divested of all art works that I had produced that were still in my possession, as well as the ownership rights to works that were generated, but destroyed. All lots were free, open to the first person that claimed them, and shipped without charge to the new owners in Berlin, London, Cairo, and the United States. There were absolutely no terms to the exchange. All postings of object descriptions, images, negotiations, and correspondence by potential owners were systematically deleted at the conclusion of the project from oldest to newest postings, after which all information and friends were deleted.

The Plot is Very Bare (Berlin)


The Plot is Very Bare (Berlin), 2005/2009, fifty LightJet prints mounted to Sintra and Plexiglas, h 12.3825 centimeters (4.875 inches) x w 16.51 centimeters (6.5 inches)

Bereznitsky Gallery

The Plot is Very Bare represents a walk across a baseball field to the bench in the dugout of the Encino Little League field in Encino, California in the United States. Each photograph is taken from a position one step closer than the previous and the photographs are installed exactly one pace apart from one another.

Visitors to the 2009 Berlin installation of The Plot is Very Bare at Bereznitsky Gallery are invited to pick one of the fifty images, remove it from the wall during the opening, and take it home at the end of the night. As the evening progresses, the work will transition from being cohesive, to fragmentary, to absent. The image you decide on is yours with no attached conditions whatsoever.

Your choice will join you to the individuals who claimed the images to the left and right of your selection. You will become a part of an invisible line of people that are connected despite geographic distance. Additionally, this dugout is where the character Stacy from the 1982 film Fast Times at Ridgemont High loses her virginity to Ron Johnson, the audio consultant from the mall.

Excursions


Excursions, 2008–2009, written text, image with caption, offset printed publication. Image caption: Outdoor movie theater across from Roberto Rossellini and Ingrid Bergman’s house on Via Vittorio Emanuele, Stromboli, 2006

Excursions
is a written text that attempts to understand a sudden reversal of my compass’ polarity while traveling in Japan in 2008. Although the piece almost arrives at a conclusion employing the filmic backdrops of Yasujiro’s Tokyo Story, Roberto Rossellinis’s Stromboli, and Henry Levin’s Journey to the Center of the Earth for support, the piece is ultimately unsuccessful in providing a satisfactory answer for the strange geomagnetic occurrence.

At last I saw the figure of Hans as if enveloped in the huge halo of burning blaze, and no other sense remained to me but that sinister dread which the condemned victim may be supposed to feel when led to the mouth of a cannon, at the supreme moment when the shot is fired and his limbs are dispersed into empty space.” 1

The following thoughts, like limbs dispersed into space then reassembled, form a loose body – rudimentary, transformed, and not entirely unified, but something with the promise of a body nevertheless.

On Thursday, March 13, 2008, I used my small pocket compass to orient my map and myself when I emerged from the Shinjuku rail station in Tokyo, Japan. There are hundreds of exits from Shinjuku station and one can easily wind up walking in the wrong direction, becoming increasingly lost and bewildered if they are not initially pointing the right way towards their destination. As in the past, my compass allowed me to fix my bearings and quickly set me on the correct course. Two days later, while traveling south from Tokyo, I stopped in the city of Osaka to see the grand sumo tournaments. Again, I utilized my compass to adjust the relationship between my map of Osaka and the city itself; however, despite the alignment of the compass rose on the map and the compass held in my palm, I was significantly off course and getting no closer to the Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium. Having become quite desperate after repeating the same, wrong route numerous times, I decided to walk in the opposite direction, concluding that my map of Osaka had somehow been printed in reverse. As I walked on this new course, the Osaka landmarks on the map quickly began to emerge in their appropriate places. I arrived at the Gymnasium and the entire matter disappeared from my thoughts as soon as the sumo bouts began.

Several days after my stay in Osaka, I arrived further south at my intended destination of Onomichi on the Inland Sea. Yet again, I encountered the problem of being significantly off course as in Osaka. I was investigating the city of Onomichi, looking for the different locations where the filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu shot portions of his 1953 film Tokyo Story and I repeatedly found myself getting terribly lost despite the use of my pocket compass. After retracing my steps back to the Onomichi rail station, I carefully compared my map with the station’s map. My map seemed to be exactly the same, so I aligned it properly according to the station map’s compass rose, and set out once again. Now, I navigated with ease to my desired sites and it gradually dawned on me that my maps had not been the source of the problem at all, but that there was something terribly wrong with my compass. Somehow, my compass had suddenly and enigmatically reversed its polarity during the previous days – north was precisely south, and south was precisely north. From my perspective, the world was now entirely upside down.

I sat for a long time in Onomichi at one of Ozu’s filming locations thinking about the implications of the world being unstable enough to abruptly invert. It was both odd, as well as comforting to be considering an enormous change such as a polarity reversal in Ozu’s own backyard, he being a filmmaker whose works are known for their fixed camera positions and methodical, steady nature. What event would be significant enough to cause a compass to rearrange its orientation? Would not such an event have enormous effects on transportation in the world and at the least merit a brief mention in the news? Additionally, what would the repercussions be for my personal life? While thinking loosely around these matters, I recollected that a compass reversing its polarity also featured in a book I had read a long time ago as a boy – towards the end of Jules Verne’s 1864 novel, Journey to the Center of the Earth.

The main characters from Jules Verne’s novel attempt to reach the planet’s core, entering the Earth via an opening in a volcano crater in Iceland. Then, at the end of the story after numerous adventures, they are ejected from the core on a wave of hot lava into a warm climate considerably different from Iceland. The chief protagonist puzzles over the changed environment and eventually concludes (after hearing Italian) that their previous proximity to the magnetized core of the planet affected the functionality of his compass, which had reversed, and that they were on the other side of the world. In fact, it turns out that that they had been expelled from the earth from a volcano on the Aeolian island of Stromboli, in the Tyrrhenian Sea north of Sicily, not back onto the volcano in Iceland. It was not precisely the other side of the world, but close enough in my book.

So far, I have not been to Iceland in my travels, or even remotely close to transiting through the inside of a volcano; however, I actually have spent time on the island of Stromboli where Roberto Rossellini made his film Stromboli in 1949. A few years earlier I stood on the island near the active volcano and considered the possibility of the explorers from the 1959 film version of Journey to the Center of the Earth – actors James Mason, Pat Boone, and Gertrude the Duck – being shot out from the volcano, out of their movie, and directly into Rossellini’s film alongside the heroine Ingrid Bergman. The science fiction of Journey to the Center of the Earth, in some ways a polar opposite of Rossellini’s hard edge realism, would form a bizarre amalgam; further, they even shared a legitimate geographic feature in the volcano. However, sitting in Onomichi, I could not piece together, cinematically at least, what the connections were to Japan and what this had to do with my compass shifting so radically.

Yasujiro Ozu’s Tokyo Story was made in 1953, Roberto Rossellini’s Stromboli was made in 1949, and Henry Levin’s Journey to the Center of the Earth was made in 1959, so there was no commonality of production year to bring the works securely together, or even legitimately into the same mental conversation. Still, I thought, if only I could arrange for a screening of Tokyo Story at the library’s outdoor theater on Stromboli, at the base of the volcano and directly across the street from where Roberto Rossellini and Ingrid Bergman lived while filming, that would be a neat suturing and provide the third side of this filmic triangle.

Upon returning home to New York from Japan, I looked further into the mysteries of magnetism and was quite surprised with the answer from the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Geomagnetism Program when they posed the following question on their website, “Is it true that the magnetic field occasionally reverses polarity?” The website then went on to say with great enthusiasm, “Yes, incredible as it may seem, the magnetic field occasionally flips over! Occasionally, however, the secular variation becomes sufficiently large such that the magnetic poles end up being located rather distantly from the geographic poles; we say that the poles have undergone an ‘excursion’ from their preferred state. During a reversal, between polarities, the geometry of the magnetic field is much more complicated than it is now, and a compass could point in almost any direction depending on one’s location on the Earth.” 2

This new information made me consider my situation quite differently. Who knows what would have happened when my compass flipped over if I had been seeking out film locations for Ozu’s Late Spring, made in 1949, or for his 1959 film Good Morning. Perhaps I would have encountered less complications, smaller variations, and found significant connections with Stromboli, or with Journey to the Center of the Earth. Nevertheless, I had been in Onomichi, Tokyo Story was made in 1953, and consequently the reassembling of dispersed limbs is not as straight as it could be, or, more truthfully, is not at all. Two lines have been joined, with the promise of a potential triangle in a distant, missing leg.

After Verne’s character emerged from the volcano’s halo of burning blaze and spotted the guide, he likened his feelings to the sinister dread of a condemned man just before “his limbs are dispersed into empty space.” If this character were to collect their senses and overcome their anxieties of the unknown, then ask the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Geomagnetism Program “What causes the magnetic field to reverse polarity?” They would be confronted with the following answers:

First, “Nothing.”

Followed by, “The fact that the magnetic field occasionally reverses is simply a property of the continuous, on-going behavior of the Earth's dynamo.”

Then, lastly and most lovely, “There is no ‘cause’ per se.”

Notes:
1 Verne, Jules. Journey to the Centre of the Earth. Trans. William Butcher. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.
2 "National Geomagnetism Program Frequently Asked Questions." (April 16, 2007): U.S. Department of the Interior/U.S. Geological Survey. .