LUX Salon: YOU ARE THE BEST
Wed 29 Oct 2014 / 7pm
By withdrawing to Robert Di Niro evening classes, the web or internal musings, this collection of videos offers a variety of perspectives on aspirations and failures in work, leisure and social relations. From the margins we are invited to contemplate the powerful influence of livelihood on identity and the senses of disillusionment and despondency this can produce. Curated by Alice Lea.
Bruce Baillie, The P-38 Pilot (1990) 15mins
George Barber, Taxi Driver Two (1987) 7mins
Ian Bourn, Monolog (1998) excerpt 10mins of 45mins
Laure Prouvost, How to Make Money Religiously (2014) 17mins
George Kuchar, We, the Normal (1988) 11mins
Bruce Baillie, The P-38 Pilot (1990)
‘…it seems to go with the territory that to adopt the trappings of artistic courier is to identify with all the isolates adrift in our restless society, sharing in their blessings and curses. Hence the summary note in the invocation to Baillie’s short video portrait: “For the dispossessed, the excluded, the condemned, fallen from life and loving.” The drunken, pathetic braggard who forms the subject of this piece- “I’m no fucking bum . . . why do I wind up in the slime pit?”-dominates the soundtrack but appears only fleetingly, if that, masked in a solarized haze of color.’ (Paul Arthur, MFJ, 1996)
George Barber, Taxi Driver Two (1987)
‘This revolves around Tim West, an advertising executive who is developing a Channel 4 programme on cooking for terrorists. Disillusioned by the hyper-reality of the media world, he joins Robert de Niro evening classes, but also falls under the pastoral influence of Johnny Morris. From the opening images of night-time, car-ridden streets accompanied by languorous sax on the soundtrack, through to the sub-Chandleresque voice-over narration, Taxi Driver II strikes you with its clever knowingness. But it’s more than just a clever nod in the direction of contemporary film noir, just as it’s more than an incestuous joke at the expense of the London based media world: it’s a telling comment on the contemporary media culture of postmodernism.’ – Julian Petley, New Statesman
Ian Bourn, Monolog (1998)
Monolog is a darkly humourous portrait of a sales representative, just returned from a disastrous business trip in the far East. Walking the streets at night his alienated view of the world is presented as a disembodied voice with a shadow gliding over the pavements. The subjective point of view ‘objectifies’ his ideas and emotions via the urban environment, using them as catalysts for quixotic trains of thought and metaphor.
Laure Prouvost, How to Make Money Religiously (2014)
Two slightly altered versions of the same piece play sequentially in a loop, creating a moment of deja-vu. Centering on the problems as well as the possibilities of memory and forgetting, the piece addresses the arbitrary distinctions that can be ascribed to power and possession. Prouvost expands her multilayered investigation of the slippages between systems of communication, and conjures diverse interpretations dependent on how one perceives or remembers the story, while considering consumption, desire and the persuasive syntax of Internet scams.
George Kuchar, We, the Normal (1988)
In Kuchar’s unique video-diary style, we experience the artist negotiating awkwardly with domestic settings, a party and a short trip to the mountains in Boulder, Colorado. Interspersed with these scenes are dated adverts and illustrations that juxtapose and play with his reality.
Alice Lea is an artist and writer based in London. She has exhibited her work at PSL (now the Tetley) and has written for Love is the Law magazine.