Tracing its inspiration back to a 2001 New Museum exhibition, this special Get Weird program pairs Alexis Gideon, an emerging animator and songwriter, with William Kentridge, one of the most compelling interdisciplinary artists of our time. Gideon has described Kentridge’s work as a major influence, one he first encountered in “William Kentridge”—the artist’s mid-career retrospective at the New Museum. For this unique event, Gideon will perform the New York premiere of Video Musics III: Floating Oceans following the screening of three animated films by Kentridge.
These three pieces by Kentridge, Felix in Exile (1994), Ubu Tells the Truth (1997), and Shadow Procession (1999), were all included in the exhibition “William Kentridge,” the artist’s first career survey in the United States. In the press release for the exhibition, co-curator Dan Cameron wrote of Kentridge’s “robust humanist vision,” adding: “he faithfully records human folly in all its tragic and farcical dimensions, while holding out the possibility that the human race may yet prove worthy of its creation.”
The third volume in Gideon’s critically acclaimed multimedia opera series, Video Musics III: Floating Oceans matches live music with stop-motion animation to create a beautiful, richly textured experience. Based on the works of the early twentieth-century Irish writer Lord Dunsany, and inspired by the time and dream experiments of the Irish physicist John William Dunne, Video Musics III: Floating Oceans contrasts the vivid dreams of its poet-protagonist with the foreboding routine of pedestrian life. All dialogue and narration are expressed through lyrics and music performed by Gideon in front of the projected video.
Through this pairing, Get Weird provides an opportunity to revisit the New Museum’s history, reflecting the long arc of inspiration and exploring the present-day resilience of the handmade.