Daata Fair: Five Artwork Highlights
The third Daata Fair will show video and digital art from nine invited international galleries when it takes place online from 20 April to 9 May. Ocula editor Sam Gaskin highlights five artwork from the mix.
Gao Yuan, Cloud of the Unknown (2017–2019). Animated short film, colour, sound, no dialogue. 6'03''. Courtesy Capsule Shanghai.
Spoons burst into blue flames and a disembodied pair of hands flaps at the wrists, flying like a bird in Gao Yuan's short film Cloud of the Unknown (2017–2019).
Born in 1986 in China's Yunnan province, Gao Yuan received her BA in Animation Arts from Beijing's Communication University of China. In Cloud of the Unknown, she uses an alluring mixture of physical painting and digital animation to tell the story of a woman so strange she fled the company of others until encountering a woman as lonely as herself. The surreal elements of the animation are evocative of the sudden discovery of new romantic terrain.
Julius von Bismarck at alexander levy
Berlin-based artist Julius von Bismarck was in South Florida in 2017 when Category 5 Hurricane Irma slammed into the state. Using a high-speed camera, he shot video footage of whipping palms, fallen trees, and flooded streets, which he shows in slow motion and in black and white to draw out the sublime aesthetics of the catastrophic storm.
The video makes for a stark contrast from the increasingly banal footage of live TV weather reporters struggling to recite their lines as they're hammered by heavy rains and furious winds.
Phung-Tien Phan at Drei
German-Vietnamese artist Phung-Tien Phan mixes home video and samples from pop and hip hop in a way that's reminiscent of Arthur Jafa's Love Is the Message, The Message Is Death (2016).
Far from attempting to capture that work's breadth and intensity, a whole people's joy and tragedy, her works feel more like diary entries—snatches of conversation and short videos that, separately, might make their way onto social media, or even remain confined to her smartphone's hard drive. Footage varies from a man walking with a can of Heineken, to a child using the space bar to rapidly play and pause a music video.
In Half Moon (2019), Phan's predicament is less overtly existential than in Jafa's video and more a kind of ennui. Lip syncing to Kanye West's 'All of the Lights', she exhales CGI smoke letters that read 'sleep is the cousin of death'.
Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley at Pilar Corrias
Without any obvious comparison is Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley's video In the Body of the Sturgeon (2017), a four-part poem performed inside a fictional World War II submarine. In verse reminiscent of Edgar Allan Poe, the artists tell the story of one seaman's suicide, the bombing of Hiroshima, another sailor's piss prank, and the submarine's fatal collision with a mine.
The poems are performed by Mary Reid, who plays almost the entire cast. While the black and white video is shot on a real set, the actors' bodies and clothes are given thick outlines and markings that suggest illustrations or cartoons.
Combined with sing-song cadence, the effect is to make the stories seem outlandish—sea shanties that have taken on mythic proportions after frequent retelling, which only emphasises the incomprehensibility of what really happened.
David-Jeremiah at von ammon co.
Dallas-based artist David-Jeremiah slapped 'I ❤ MICAH' stickers on the rear bumpers of Dallas police cars and tailed them, recording them using the camera on his phone to create the video I ❤ Micah (2020).
This deeply provocative work was created following the shooting of five Dallas police officers by African American Afghan War veteran Micah Xavier Johnson, who was ultimately killed by a police bomb disposal robot carrying a bomb of its own. At the time, Dallas Police Chief David Brown said Johnson made up his mind to kill white police officers amidst Black Lives Matter protests following the deaths of African Americans at the hands of police.
David-Jeremiah's work is deeply ironic, imagining that America's police force would either somehow empathise with Johnson's vigilantism or appreciate the insight he provided them into what racially motivated violence feels like. —[O]