Postmasters is pleased to announce the opening of "we like to watch,"
the first solo exhibition of Jennifer and Kevin McCoy. The show will open
on March 23 and will be on view until April 20, 2002. The reception is
scheduled for Saturday, March 23, between 6 and 8pm.
Jennifer and Kevin McCoy present a series of multimedia projects that
address the intersection of television, narrative, and computer database.
Beginning with "Every Shot, Every Episode" (2000) which transformed
20 episodes of "Starsky and Hutch" into an inventory of 300
categories, the McCoys have developed a distinctive artistic practice
that brings the languages and techniques of digital production and Internet
culture to the worlds of film and television viewing. In their work, the
database is a collection of not only facts and files but also of more
slippery ideas of genre, stereotypes, relationships, and representational
techniques. McCoys interpret mainstream visual culture from the pre-digital
era by cross-referencing and reconstituting the original material into
a non-linear repository of content available, much like all computer data,
for selective viewing and manipulation.
"we like to watch" consists of five projects, four of which
will be exhibited for the first time. "Horror Chase" is a one-shot
horror film inspired by Sam Raimi's "Evil Dead 2". The artists
filmed a chase sequence on a 1000 square foot set they constructed on
a Brooklyn soundstage. This film material is played back through custom
computer software and hardware that constantly varies the speed and direction
of the film in real time. The playback algorithm creates an endlessly
recurring but never repeating "chase to end all chases". "448
is Enough" systematically, shot-by-shot, dissects a single episode
of the 80's television program "Eight is Enough" to reveal the
structure of television family drama, its clichés, and its interdependence
with commercials. "Every Anvil" (2001) and "How I Learned"
respectively inventory classic "Looney Tunes" animations from
the post-war era and the 70s eastern western" television
series "Kung Fu". Here, the McCoys create a visual and sculptural
database of television images that reveal lifes lessons learned
from years of TV watching. Classification system for "Every Anvil"
focuses on violence and extremism while the categories from "How
I Learned" include how I learned about ceremonies," how
I learned about blocking punches," how I learned about exploiting
workers," how I learned to love the land."
In the McCoy's work film and TV are not embodied as linear narratives
but rather as collections of equally distributed chunks that are re-packed
into portable, sculptural viewing stations, as if once taken apart, media
must be reformed into newly digestible packets. In a recent article in
Artforum, David Frankel writes: "to experience [these projects] is
to brush up against a subterranean social and technological process going
on all around us: if stories are central to our sense of self, perhaps
it is also to watch a modern consciousness take on a different shape."
(Artforum, November 2001)
Jennifer and Kevin McCoy were the recipients of the 2001 Colbert Foundation
Award for Excellence in New Media: The Downtown Arts Projects Emerging