In the past, I have worked primarily in photography and have documented staged, self-portrait, based performances in order to portray segments from nonsensical narratives as a moment in time. Recently, I have begun working on a series of video projects in which the narrative structure is generated and depicted through the progression of time. As in my photos, I am still interested in self-portraiture, vanity and narcissism as well as issues dealing with the body, bodily functions, beauty, chaos, the grotesque and the perverse. The videos introduce the element of time into my narratives. I am interested in using this element to chronicle the gestation period of progressive states, which ultimately end in destructive or absurd predicaments. The videos act as a short visual time lapse in which obsessive behaviors become exaggerated (as in "Nail Biter"), figures multiply through an invisible regenerative process in "Amphibians," and every day bodily functions mutate into uncontrollable fits and urges as in "Tickle." Many of the videos are characterized by a limited viewpoint. Cropped, stationary, frontal, camera angles with locked down frames combine with minimal cuts and edits to provide the effect of a single seamless progression of time. As in the photos, the camera becomes a tool to document the awkward scenarios enacted and staged for the absentee viewer.
TICKLE © 2002 Edition of 6 2 minutes 45 seconds: “Tickle” is a three channel video installation documenting the transition from something inane, harmless and fun into something torturous and cruel. Unlike a sneeze or a hiccup, being tickled is not an involuntary force. It is impossible to tickle yourself, yet in the video, some invisible force is tickling the young boy seated at the top of the stairs. As the tickling and laughter progresses, the scene becomes more chaotic and exaggerated until the laughs turn into screams of torture followed by a sigh of relief in the end. The video “Tickle” straddles a line of ambiguity in which pleasure and pain are separated by an imperceptive boundary, which is revealed to be both comical and horrifying.
AMPHIBIANS ©2002 Edition of 6 6 minutes: “Amphibians” is a loosely knit narrative in which red hooded figures run through the forest and mysteriously multiply and regenerate. Young boys cloaked in red capes dart in and out of trees and brush calling to mind fables such as “Peter and the Wolf” or “Red Riding Hood”. It is unclear whether the boys are fleeing in panic or running towards something. In the end they run into the water and shed their clothing as if they are returning to their natural environment. The progression unfolds as a reverse process of evolutionary maturation in which an amphibious creature that typically spends the first half of its life in water and the second on land ultimately returns to its aquatic origins. In “Amphibians” the indistinguishable boys multiply and coalesce as a group in order to return to the water and swim freely in its wide-open murky spaces.
NAIL BITER ©2002 Edition of 6 2 minutes 45 seconds Shot with an infrared night vision camera and framed in a vertical format, “Nail Biter” acts as a time lapsed portrait of obsessive-compulsive habits, which progress to destructive and absurdly exaggerated states. The video is filmed in one seamless take from a limited frontal camera angle. The camera slowly zooms in on the figure and acts as a tool to document the awkward scenario enacted before it. The video takes place in a darkened cabin in the middle of the woods. A young boy sits in bed and nervously bites his nails. As he chews away at his fingertips, his nails continue to regenerate and grow. The repetitive motions become almost masturbatory as his pace quickens with time and hundreds of nail shards accumulate around him. The soundtrack is comprised of a steady heartbeat, owls and other woodland noises, which acts like a metronome, keeping time for the videos frenetic pace. The tension mounts and a seemingly mundane, everyday, nervous habit unfolds into a simultaneously horrific and humorous portrait of a young boy’s neurosis.
LEAKING ©2002 Edition of 6 3 minutes 35 seconds In “Leaking”, everyday bodily functions mutate into uncontrollable acts of beauty and the grotesque. The video is shot as an aerial view of two boys asleep in bed. As time passes, the boys begin to leak various bodily fluids from every orifice including their pores. The video documents the process as their sheets and clothes become soaked through with drool, urine, and sweat. The initially tender and sweet scene gradually transgresses into the grotesque and perverse through a series of natural, involuntary, bodily functions, which every person has experienced at some point in their childhood.
CLASSROOM ©2002 Edition of 6 6 minutes and 5 seconds Classroom chronicles two parallel narratives, which unfold at the same time in separate yet similarly replicated environments. In one scenario, a schoolboy stresses over his studies and fiddles with his hair while an identical twin looks on from the seat next to him. He continues to twirl his hair in his fingers and pull at it until strands and locks begin to fall out of his head. He becomes more frantic and quickly delves into the realm of trichotillomania. Meanwhile, the camera cuts in and out of scenes depicting a similarly dressed schoolboy in a similarly constructed classroom who is nervously fidgeting. In his boredom he tapes pieces of chalk to each finger. He then approaches the blackboard and begins to cover the surface with random chalk marks duplicated ten-fold. He continues to cover the board in a chaotic random motion until the chalk wares down and his fingernails scrape the surface. Both scenarios record the gestation period of hyperactive frenetic states in which the characters obsessively focus on their actions to the point of absurdity.
ACT OF CONTRITION ©2003 Edition of 6 3 minutes 45 seconds "The Act of Contrition" is a traditional Catholic prayer said during confession for penance. In the video, a series of identically dressed school boys simultaneously ascend and descend in an open-faced, revolving, confessional. As they repent, their overlapping processions and ritualistic prayers gradually become louder and culminate in a swarming of whispered chants which resembles the buzzing of cloned worker bees in a bee hive. Tradition and ritual easily give way to robotic and hypnotic assemblely-line movements as the figures enter and exit the small wooden confessionals. The video works on several different levels and touches on issues surrounding the Catholic church, The Vatican, science, genetics, homosexuality, and the act of gaining forgiveness through ritual.
SNOWSCAPE VIDEO INSTALLATION ©2003 Edition of 3 with installation Edition of 3 with out instiallation 2 minutes 30 seconds: Snowscape is a two-channel video installation. The video images are derived from a series of still photographs depicting winter landscapes. The still photos were shot on film and then digitally composed by fusing together various disparate landscapes to create an apparently seamless environment of glacial caves, desert tundra, mountainous terrain, and snow-covered plains. The video pans across this elongated landscape as if it were a 360_ continuous panoramic view. With each rotation of the camera’s lens, the landscape speeds by faster and faster and progresses to a dizzying speed as it converges in on itself. As the camera rotates, it zooms in and out of the landscape focusing on specific elements including animal skins, giant snow balls, urine stains and other traces of human activity. Eventually the field of vision is obliterated by an increasing snow storm which obscures the horizon and blankets the landscape in white. The video is projected on two adjoining walls of equal dimensions within a large open space. The wall-to-wall projections of the landscape create an enclosed 90_ angle in which the viewer can experience this virtual panorama. The floor of the instillation has a thick layer of artificial snow covering its surface. With in this artificial landscape are 12 owls placed around an icy patch in the snow left bare by the imprint of a small child in a “snow angel” pattern. The owls are clustered around this anthropomorphic outline as if attracted to the left over presence of human intervention. With in this arctic landscape, several seemingly realistic environments create a unified winter narrative punctuated with a strong sense of human presence established through the wake of their aftermath or in the affected behavior of the animals left behind. These elements provide physical evidence and visual proof of an ongoing past narrative. The photographs meld together to form an animated sequence which uses the aesthetics and beauty inherent to nature and the sublime to create an exaggerated winter wonderland which bares the imprint of humanity.
TEA PARTY ©2004 Edition of 3 with installation Edition of 3 with out installation 5 minutes 30 seconds: “Tea Party” evokes the ritual and nostalgia of a traditional English tea service while providing a platform for competitive deception and deceit. Two schoolboys dressed as bandits crawl through the woods following a trail of breadcrumbs like animals from a storybook. They are led to a giant box trap, which ensnares them. They commence with a very proper tea service; thus, undermining their wild animal-like appearance and initial behavior. But in a true Darwinian struggle for survival, they secretly poison each other and lead each other to their own early demise. The events unfold like a Shakespearian tragedy in which no one wins. In the end, both characters disintegrate and are absorbed back into the earth. The video itself is projected inside a larger than life size box trap in which the viewer is encouraged to enter and watch the narrative unfold. The viewing space references the video’s actual location and the actions taking, and thus implicates the viewer as he or she watches the video.
KIDNAP ©2005 Edition of 3 with installation Edition of 3 with out installation 15 minutes The video is a 15-minute single channel projection. It recounts the tale of a young boy's obsession and paranoia of being kidnapped. Shot in the countryside outside of Basel, Switzerland, several characters dressed in red-hooded uniforms engage in a series of clandestine rituals that unfold in a fairytale-like sequence. The video chronicles the passage of time during a 12-hour period from dusk to dawn. The central time-keeping device during the video is the construction of a large wooden bonfire and its subsequent incineration and destruction. All the while, the film is narrated by a series of subtitles. Although the narration is told through the point of view of a child, his recollection of his youth confuses perceptions of past and present as he reflects back on his childhood terror of falling asleep, fear of the dark and a recurring fantasy in which he is kidnapped and cloned. The video unfolds in a dreamlike sequence going back and forth between the bonfire, ritualistic actions taking place in the darkened Swiss forest and scenes shot inside of a car. Using symbolic imagery such as fire, skull-and-crossbones, scarecrows, daggers, and red-hooded cloaks, the video relies on iconic and allegorical childhood narratives to portray activities anchored in reality but predicated on fantastical narrative structures such as fairy tales, fables, and myths.
CODE ©2007 Edition of 3 1 minute 15 seconds “Code” is a film installation is presented in a constructed corridor at the back of the second gallery. At the end of the darkened hall, a 16 mm camera projects a night scene punctuated by pulsing flashlights. The lights click in code as if a covert language were narrating the clandestine activities. At first the rhythm is slow and methodical, but it soon deteriorates into a luminous, chaotic chatter created by the darkened figures that patrol the area.