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Screens Series: GOD

02/21/17-05/21/17

“Screens Series: GOD” continues the New Museum’s Screens Series, a platform for the presentation of new video works by emerging contemporary artists.

Cover Image:

GOD, Antigone, 2016 (still). HD video, sound, color; 15:20 min. Courtesy the artist and Chapter NY.

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A collaborative project, GOD enables two individual artists known for their work in other mediums to come together as video-makers, experimenting anonymously and thus outside their usual comfort zones. GOD was formed in 2013 and has produced a series of atmospheric, largely non-narrative works that evoke a contemporary American Gothic sensibility. Framing spontaneously filmed, everyday—even banal—moments by way of longstanding classical tropes, GOD’s work offers a lush hybrid of postmodern appropriation and post-apocalyptic fairy tale.

Antigone (2016) is a fast and loose retelling of Jean Anouilh’s politicized version of the ancient Greek tragedy. Here, Antigone’s loyalty to her family and her heroic stand against a violent, oppressive regime are played out through contrasting shots of crumbling ancient marble sculptures, contemporary mannequins, and an expanded cast and prop list that rather campily includes the open flame of a stove, a black bird on a tree branch, and a raw chicken. Here, GOD’s pared-down, DIY theatrics yield an unexpectedly affective result: Antigone’s story resonates eerily with our current political situation, and the chicken, cast as a corpse, is unnerving in its blunt deadness. A flicker between the real and the symbolic is also evident in Fluoride—A Reading, a simple meditation on a grid of fluorescent tubes, and Tiny Systems (both 2014). In the latter work, ants clustered on a decomposing apple become a kind of microcosm, one that is differently explored in Born Better (2013) and Loose Laces (2014), where the natural world is pictured as both increasingly alien and as the heart of our own evolving (or perhaps devolving) ecosystem.

Utilizing voice modification and color reversal as modes of overt manipulation, Chopped Up Chard and Popped Up Cherries (both 2014) trace the contours of the titular objects, which come to feel more like moving Pop art paintings than organic goods. The artificiality of the videos’ jerkily reversing and advancing movements and fluorescent, even radioactive color contribute to a sense that there is no longer any hard-and-fast distinction between the natural and artificial worlds. Unseen but for their hands, the human actors in these works, too, are rendered mutant, their words blunted into meaningless grunts and stuttering titters. Yet for the darkness that characterizes so much of GOD’s output, there is also a genuine desire for collaborative exchange and an embrace of daily persistence. In The Warning (2013), people gathered in a stark country cabin share the contents of a vaporizer. While the title of the work might pertain to the protagonists and their activity, it could just as well be aimed at those of us watching—and at a world less and less accommodating of non-labor time, of hours spent with nothing to gain.

GOD is a collaborative project that began in New York in 2013. Recent solo and group exhibitions include “Antigone,” Chapter NY (2016); “GOD,” Société Berlin at Project Native Informant as part of CONDO, London (2016); and “GOD,” Primetime, Brooklyn (2014).

“Screens Series: GOD” is organized by Johanna Burton, Keith Haring Director and Curator of Education and Public Engagement.

GOD’s videos will be on view on the Lower Level screens Tuesday through Sunday, and they will be presented in the New Museum Theater on Wednesdays from February 22 through May 17 in the following order: Tiny Systems (2014), Born Better (2013), Chopped Up Chard (2014), Fluoride—A Reading (2014), Loose Laces (2014), Popped Up Cherries (2014), The Warning (2013), and Antigone (2016).

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