With the invention of the electronic sensor in the 1950s, the moving image was transformed. The image was unbounded from the screen—a surface for the projection of images that conjure the world—and began to populate interfaces that connect the world in real time. The films and videos in Electric Narcissus explore the existential effects of this shift in mediation, and of selves being turned into seductive mediums, online avatars, and SMS traders.
Electric Narcissus, co-presented by Triple Canopy and Electronic Arts Intermix, is the opening program of Flaherty NYC’s series Surface Knowledge, curated by Courtney Stephens and Mathilde Walker-Billaud. The series investigates the screen as a site of telepresence, a conduit that connects the artist and performer with the viewer and perceiver. Electric Narcissus includes works by artists from multiple generations—among them Joan Jonas, Pipilotti Rist, and Sondra Perry—who engage with games of representation that reveal uncanny and sometimes hazardous environments. Depth of identity comes up against layers and layers of surface; out-of-body experiences frustrate the effort to locate oneself “here” or “there.” Several of the works were created in earlier decades and foreshadow the modes of instant communication that now define our lives.
The works to be screened are:
Joanne Kyger, Descartes, 1968, 11 min., digital
Joan Jonas, Left Side, Right Side, 1972, 9 min., digital
Joan Jonas, Organic Honey's Visual Telepathy, 1972, 17 min., digital
Pipilotti Rist, You Called Me Jacky, 1990, 4 min., digital
Mark Lapore and Phil Solomon, Crossroads, 2005, 5 min., digital
Sondra Perry, Graft and Ash for a Three Monitor Work Station, 2016, 9 min., digital
Michael Robinson, Onward Lossless Follows, 2017, 17 min., digital
Following the screening, there will be a conversation between the artist Joan Jonas and the art historian Kris Paulsen, the author of Here/There: Telepresence, Touch, and Art at the Interface (MIT Press, 2017).
Triple Canopy’s public programs are made possible through generous support from Jane Hait, a founding member of Triple Canopy Director’s Circle; the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation; the Lambent Foundation Fund of Tides Foundation; the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; the New York State Council on the Arts; and the Opaline Fund of the Jewish Community Endowment Federation and Endowment Fund.
- Flaherty NYC is a seasonal screening series that presents innovative and groundbreaking films followed by discussions with the makers on aesthetics, the production process, and the challenges of the work. Flaherty NYC stands apart from other screening series in that it exposes audiences to filmmakers whose work deserve more attention as well as more discourse.
- Joan Jonas is an artist whose video, drawing, performance, and sound work has been the subject of retrospectives at the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherlands (1979); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1983, 1994); Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Germany (2001); and Queens Museum of Art, New York (2004). She’s had solo exhibitions at venues such as the Stedelijk Museum (1994); Rosamund Felsen Gallery, Los Angeles (2003); Pat Hearn Gallery, New York City (2003); Vienna State Opera, Vienna (2014–15); Tate Modern (2018); and has presented major performances at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (1974); The Kitchen, New York (1975); San Francisco Museum of Art (1976); Kunstmuseum Bern (2004); and Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (2008). She is the recipient of fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Rockefeller Foundation, Contemporary Art Television (CAT) Fund, among others, and has received awards from Anonymous Was a Woman, the Rockefeller Foundation, the American Film Institute, and the Guggenheim Foundation. She lives and works in New York.
- Kris Paulsen is an art historian and media theorist and the author of Here/There: Telepresence, Touch, and Art at the Interface (MIT Press, 2017). She’s an assistant professor of history of art and film studies at the Ohio State University. Her research and writing address the intersections of art and technology from the 1960s to the present.