ART21

S7 E4 | FULL EPISODE

Fiction

What makes a compelling story? How do artists disrupt everyday reality in the service of revealing subtler truths? This episode features artists who explore the virtues of ambiguity, mix genres, and merge aesthetic disciplines to discern not simply what stories mean, but how and why they come to have meaning.

AIRED: November 14, 2014 | 0:54:23
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

- AM I A PAINTER? AM I A SCULPTOR?

I DON'T KNOW.

I'M TALKING TO THE WORLD WHILE PAINTING ON IT,

OR WITH IT OR IN IT.

- I WORK BACK AND FORTH BETWEEN PERFORMANCE AND INSTALLATION

AND AUTONOMOUS VIDEO WORK.

AND EACH FEEDS INTO THE OTHER.

- I'M NOT A JOURNALIST.

MY WORK DOES NOT EXIST IN THE COURT OF LAW.

IT EXISTS IN THE SPACE OF ART WHICH ALLOWS FOR CONTRADICTIONS.

- IT'S VERY FASCINATING FOR ME TO RESET THE IDEA

WHAT A PAINTING CAN BE.

YOU KNOW, IT'S NOT LIKE A FORMAL ISSUE

ONLY ABOUT VOLUME AND COLOR, BUT IT'S ALSO,

HOW COULD PAINTING APPEAR IN THIS PUBLIC SPACE?

THE SURFACE IS VERY ROUGH AND CLUNKY,

AND I DO SOMETHING LIKE A WATERCOLOR ON TOP,

WHICH IS QUITE BIZARRE.

SO IT'S ACTUALLY A VERY INTIMATE KIND OF PAINTING,

BUT JUST ON A VERY LARGE SCALE.

SO IT'S AS IF YOU'RE THINKING OUT LOUD.

THAT'S A LITTLE BIT HOW I WORK.

AND WHAT COMES UP IN THE END

IS A VOLUME FLOATING THROUGH THIS FOREST.

I SAW THE SPACE AND HAD IMMEDIATELY THE FEELING

IT COULD BE VERY, VERY INTERESTING

TO WORK WITH THE TREES,

TO MAKE THE TREES A VERY SIGNIFICANT PART

OF THE OVERALL IMAGE THAT WOULD COME ABOUT.

AND I'M VERY FASCINATED

BY THE POWER OF THESE ICONIC IMAGES

LIKE THE TREE, THE SOIL, THE LANDSCAPE.

THE TREES ARE SO STRICT,

LIKE LITTLE SOLDIERS IN THAT PARK.

AND I THOUGHT, IF I COULD PLACE SOMETHING

IN BETWEEN THE TREES THAT LOOKS LIKE GIGANTIC DRIFTWOOD

BUT HAS COME AND SWEPT IN

WITH SOME SORT OF POWER THAT WE CAN'T EXPLAIN,

BUT NOW IT'S THERE.

IT HAS TO LOOK LIKE IT'S BEEN CRUMBLED

SOME BIG PERSON HAS JUST DROPPED IT.

THE SHEER PRESENCE OF THESE THINGS

OF DIFFERENT SIZE

MAKES US THINK OF SOMETHING THAT MUST HAVE HAPPENED,

BUT WE CAN'T QUITE SAY WHAT IT IS.

THE TREES ARE VERY FRAGILE, SMALL,

BUT YET THEY ARE TALLER THAN THE WORK.

THE TREES ALSO GIVE A CERTAIN SCALE TO MY WORK.

THE BUILDINGS AROUND THEM ARE QUITE BIG,

AND THAT'S A BIG CHALLENGE FOR AN OUTDOOR WORK.

ONE'S IN HERE WITH NUMBER NINE. - YUP.

- THERE'S A BIG TEAM EFFORT NEEDED

TO DO THESE LARGE SCULPTURAL WORKS,

ESPECIALLY FOR METROTECH.

THAT WAS THE BIGGEST PCE I'VE DONE EVER.

18 PCES WE NEEDED TO PRODUCE

IN A RELATIVELY SHORT AMOUNT OF TIME.

- IT WOULD BE HANGING OVER THE FOOTPATH.

- IT WOULD.

I MADE MODELS,

AND THEN WE DISCUSSED IT VIA SKYPE.

AMARAL HAD TO MAKE THESE WORKS, LAMINATE THEM,

MAKE THEM DURABLE AND HARD WITH FIBERGLASS AND RESIN.

YEAH, IT COULD BE LIKE THIS.

WE NEEDED PEOPLE TO HANDLE IT, TO PRIME IT,

TO GET IT INTO PLACE

TO UNDERSTAND HOW THE PCES WOULD WORK TOGETHER.

BUT IT IS FAR EASIER FOR ME AND EFFICIENT

IF THEY WOULD BE PUT TOGETHER,

AT LEAST LIKE THREE OR FOUR OF THEM,

AND THEN PILE UP TO THE WHOLE PILE.

AND IF YOU COULD START WITH A SMALL PILE.

- OKAY.

- WE START WITH 18 CUTTING FIRST,

AND THEN WE CUT 16 AND 17.

NO?

I'M REALLY HAPPY WITH HOW THE PCES LOOK.

- THAT LOOKS GOOD, YEAH. - THEY ARE CHUNKY AND SO...

THEY'RE MUCH BIGGER THAN WE

I MEAN, WE WERE PEELING YESTERDAY OUT

THE OUTLINE OF THE WHOLE PCE WITH PINK RIBBONS.

AND IT LOOKED LIKE SO...

[whistles]

YOU KNOW THROUGH THE WOODS, BUT IT'S GONNA BE.

- IT'S GOING TO BE SUBSTANTIAL.

- YEAH, IT'S GOING TO BE SUBSTANTIAL.

- I MIGHT EVEN GO A LITTLE DEEPER.

SEE HOW WE CAN SEE RIGHT THROUGH THE PCE?

WELL, THEY'VE MARKED OFF THE CUTS,

BUT IT'S JUST A HAIR OVERLAPPED.

SO WHEN THEY DID THAT,

THEY ENDED UP THEY THINK WITH A HOLE.

SO THAT MIDDLE

- YEAH, THAT'S NOT A PROBLEM.

- OKAY.

- I STARTED TO WORK WITH MY BROTHER THREE YEARS AGO.

HE IS AN ENGINEER.

IT'S THE FIRST TIME I HAVE SOMEBODY IN MY TEAM

WHO IS NOT COMING FROM AN ART CONTEXT.

HE JOINED US WHEN I WAS DOING A HUGE PROJECT

FOR THE TEMPORARE KUNSTHALLE IN BERLIN

WHERE WE CONSTRUCTED ELLIPSES THAT WERE LEANING AGAINST WALLS.

AND THE ELLIPSES WERE ABOUT 30 FEET HIGH.

WE HAD TO WORK WITH A BOAT BUILDER

AND A STRUCTURAL ENGINEER,

PUTTING THEM TOGETHER AND HOISTING THEM INTO PLACE.

THAT WAS A GREAT MOMENT.

HE HAS A REALLY GREAT WAY TO CONNECT

THE THEORETICAL THINKING

THAT'S NEEDED TO UNDERSTAND THE ENGINEERING PROCESS,

AND HE KNOWS THE LANGUAGE AND ALL THE WORDS.

AND THEN HE CAN STILL COME BACK TO ME

AT THE END OF THE DAY AND SAY,

"LOOK, WE NEED THAT KIND OF BOLT HERE."

- HERE. - NEIN, NEIN, NEIN, NEIN.

THIS HERE...

WE WERE VERY, VERY CLOSE WHEN WE WERE KIDS.

HE GREW INTO AN INDISPENSABLE MEMBER OF MY TEAM.

MY PARENTS TOOK US TO A LOT OF THINGS WHEN WE WERE SMALL.

I WAS SEEING PAINTINGS, DRAWINGS.

WE WOULD ALSO GO TO THE THEATRE LOTS,

AND BOTH MY PARENTS ARE VERY INFLUENTIAL IN THAT RESPECT.

MY MOTHER WOULD DRAW AND PAINT,

BUT ALSO THEN COOK AND BRING US TO MUSIC LESSONS.

AND SHE DIDN'T LABEL HERSELF ARTIST.

I STARTED TO TELL MYSELF THAT I ACTUALLY HAD A MOTHER

WHO WAS AN ARTIST.

SHE WAS THE ONE TO FIND OUT THAT I MAYBE HAD VISUAL TALENT.

ONE MORNING I HAD DONE A LITTLE WATERCOLOR.

I HAD COPIED A BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOGRAPH FROM A NEWSPAPER.

SHE THOUGHT IT WAS AMAZING.

SHE URGED ME TO GO ON.

MY MOM WOULD ALSO MAKE US PAINT THE GARAGE WALLS.

SHE WOULD GATHER ALL THE KIDS AND SAY,

"LET'S MAKE LITTLE DRAWINGS

AND SEE WHAT THE BIG PICTURE COULD BE LIKE."

IT WAS A NATURAL THING TO PAINT THINGS.

[sander buzzing]

MY WORK IS NOT IDEA BASED.

IT'S REALLY THOUGHT BASED.

THE THOUGHT IS A MORE FLUID FEEL THAT GETS FEEDBACK

AND IS BEING CHANGED WHILE I DO WHAT I DO.

SO THERE IS AN OVERALL AGREEMENT THAT I HAVE WITH MYSELF

AS I START SOMETHING.

THAT AGREEMENT IS BASED ON A JUDGMENT.

FOR EXAMPLE, I WANT TO HAVE TWO ELEMENTS COINCIDE

THAT EXCLUDE ONE ANOTHER.

HOW COULD THAT WORK IN THAT PAINTING

OR IN THAT SITUATION THAT I HAVE

IN A GALLERY WITH A CERTAIN ARCHITECTURAL SETUP?

AS I WORK, AS I USE MY PAINTING TOOLS AND COLORS,

THEN I AM GETTING AN INSTANTANEOUS FEEDBACK

BY THE MATERIALIZATION OF THAT FIRST AGREEMENT

THAT MIGHT THEN CHANGE THE RELATIONSHIP

I HAVE WITH THE AGREEMENT.

ALL THESE NOTIONS,

THE FURTHER STEPS THAT ARE CHANGING AGAIN AND AGAIN,

THAT IS THAT THOUGHT PROCESS

THAT I FIND INFINITELY INTERESTING

AND THAT CAN'T BE FIXED AND WRITTEN DOWN AS I START.

I WANTED TO DO SOMETHING FOR THE NASHER

THAT WAS NOT A SCULPTURE

AND THAT WAS NOT REALLY USING THE SPACE

AS A DISPLAY SPACE.

THERE ARE TWO VERY LARGE GLASS PANELS,

AND THE REST IS JUST WALLS.

AND YOU COULD MOVE THROUGH THIS.

SO YOUYOU HAD THE VISTA THROUGH THE BUILDING

INTO THE GARDEN, AND IN THE GARDEN

WERE PLANTS AND SCULPTURES THAT LOOKED A LITTLE BIT ALIKE.

HOW DO YOU ACTUALLY MAKE YOURSELF VISIBLE

IN THAT SITUATION?

SOMETHING LIKE NEGATIVE SPACE

COINCIDING WITH SUPER LARGE PAINT MOVEMENTS.

QUITE AMAZING THAT MY INVITATION TO A SCULPTURE MUSEUM

COINCIDES WITH A MOMENT WHERE I WANTED TO DO

A NEGATIVE SPACE OF VOLUME WITH A PAINTING SITTING ON TOP

OF THAT NEGATIVE SPACE.

THAT IS A FANTASTIC CONFRONTATION

OF THESE TWO THOUGHTS.

I STARTED TO SEE THAT EXPERIMENT AS SOMETHING

THAT WOULD JUST SIT IN THE SPACE

AS IF IT WAS TAKEN OUT OF THE BOX AND DISCARDED.

SO I DID NOT WANT THE PCE IN RELATIONSHIP TO OTHER THINGS.

I JUST WANTED TO HAVE IT LEANING AGAINST A WALL

SO THAT IT WILL SIT EXACTLY

WHERE THE WALL AND THE FLOOR MEET,

AND THAT KIND OF JOINT WOULD BE THEN COVERED

BY THE THING THAT I DO.

SO YOU CAN'T REALLY TELL

THE FLOOR AND THE WALL APART ANYMORE

BECAUSE THEY ARE IN TERMS OF COLOR VERY CLOSE

IN THE NASHER FOR THE LIMESTONE AND THE FLOOR.

AND I DID SOMETHING FOR THEM

THAT WOULD MOVE OUT OF THE SPACE AS WELL.

SO I WANTED SOMETHING THAT WAS INSIDE

AND WAS GOING OUTSIDE BEHIND THE GLASS PANEL.

- [speaking German]

- THIS IS THE KUNSTHAUS IN GRAZ IN AUSTRIA,

AND IT'S AN AMAZING BUILDING.

IT'S A BUBBLE.

IT'S A VERY ORGANIC SHAPE.

AND I'M GOING TO DO A SHOW THERE

WHICH HAS TO DO WITH ONE OF MY CORE QUESTIONS:

HOW CAN PAINTING APPEAR IN SPACE,

AND WHAT DO I NEED TO SHOW THE PAINTING?

I DON'T WANT TO PUT WALLS IN THE SPACE

THAT THEN ENABLE ME TO SHOW CANVASES.

THE METAL CAGE IS THE ROOF.

WE MADE IT THIS WAY SO THAT

I CAN WORK IN THE SPACE FROM ABOVE.

THESE STYROFOAM BLOCKS ARE SOLID WALLS

THAT I COULD ALSO POSSIBLY PAINT ON.

OTHER THAN THE STYROFOAM BLOCKS I HAVE

NO WALLS THAT DEFINE THE SPACE.

THERE ARE NO WINDOWS EXCEPT THESE OPENINGS

IN THE CEILING WHERE I HAVE LIGHTS.

I'M USING CANVAS OR SOME VERY THICK CLOTH,

MAYBE SOME SORT OF SAILCLOTH.

AND I WANT TO CRUMPLE IT.

AND AT TIMES I WANT TO MAKE A PAINTING ON THAT SURFACE,

AND AT OTHER TIMES, YOU CAN JUST WALK

ON THE CANVAS OR CAN WALK THROUGH THE EXHIBITION.

[speaking German]

THE PAINTING PROCESS IS ALL GOING TO BE DONE ON SITE.

WE ARE TRYING TO FIND OUT,

HOW CAN I BUILD THESE CREASES AND THESE FOLDS TO SCALE?

BECAUSE I FIND THE SPACE THAT IS COMING ABOUT

BY FOLDING THINGS QUITE INTERESTING.

I LIKE THAT YOU ARE WALKING IN A STRUCTURE

THAT IS DIFFICULT TO SEE AS A WHOLE.

I'M REALLY FASCINATED BY THAT CONDITION

OF US BEING IN SOMETHING

AND AT THE SAME TIME LOOKING AT IT.

I THINK THAT'S THE CONDITION WE HAVE ALL THE TIME.

THAT HAS A LOT TO DO WITH SCALE.

I THINK THAT WE ARE ABLE TO THINK SO BIG

AND AT THE SAME TIME WE'RE ACTUALLY QUITE SMALL

IN RELATIONSHIP TO WHAT IS AROUND US.

SO YOU'RE CONSTANTLY CHANGING IN SIZE AS YOU WALK THROUGH.

THE SCALE SHIFT IN THIS EXHIBITION

IS REALLY SOMETHING THAT I'M VERY INTERESTED IN.

AND THATTHAT IS ALSO WHAT

I THOUGHT WAS IN NASHER SO FASCINATING.

THE DIRT ROOM DOWNSTAIRS WAS THE ONLY SPACE

THAT DIDN'T HAVE ANY RELATIONSHIP

TO THE OUTSIDE GARDEN.

AND UPSTAIRS I HAD THE MORE ANALYTICAL PCE

THAT WAS ACTUALLY CONFRONTED WITH

WITH THE GARDEN AND THE PLANTS AND SO ON.

I'M VERY ADVENTURESOME.

I GREW UP HIKING AND CLIMBING IN THE MOUNTAINS.

LATER ON I STARTED TO BE VERY FASCINATED

WITH THE SPACE THAT YOU ENCOUNTER IN LANDSCAPE

AND IN PAINTING A LANDSCAPE

BECAUSE YOU'RE SITTING SOMEWHERE VAST

AND YOU HAVE THIS 360 DEGREE ANGLE AROUND YOU.

AND THEN YOU START TO THINK, IS THERE AN ORDER?

WHAT DO I PERCEIVE?

AND HOW DO I ACTUALLY DESIGN AN ORDER

FOR WHAT I'M SURROUNDED BY?

LANDSCAPE IS AN UNBUREAUCRATIC SPACE.

THE HIERARCHIC SHIFT IS SO FAST IN LANDSCAPE.

SOMETHING THAT WAS USEFUL A MINUTE AGO

TURNS OUT TO BE NOT SO INTERESTING

TWO STEPS FURTHER TO THE RIGHT, FOR EXAMPLE.

SO THERE IS A VERY UNSTABLE, VERY FLUID SENSE

FOR HIERARCHY IN LANDSCAPE.

- I'M REALLY CURIOUS TO KNOW HOW THE IDEA ABOUT THE PCE CAME UP

AND WHERE YOU GOT YOUR INSPIRATION FROM.

EVERYBODY KNOWS A TREE, ONE WAY OR ANOTHER.

YOU GO INTO THE PARK OR INTO THE WOODS.

BUT SOMETHING HAS HAPPENED TO THE TREES.

WE DON'T KNOW WHAT IT IS,

BUT THEY ARE NOT WHERE THEY NORMALLY ARE.

I LOVE WHAT HAPPENS TO THIS MATERIAL

AND TO THIS IMAGE WHEN IT'S PAINTED

THAT TURNS IT TO SOMETHING ELSE.

SOMETHING THAT'S NOT A TREE,

AND AT THE SAME TIME, IT'S A TREE.

AND I LOVE THIS PARADOX.

- SO THAT'S WHERE THE TITLE ORIGINATES ALSO?

- YEAH, YOU DON'T REALLY KNOW.

YOU SEE SOMETHING FAR AWAY AND THEN YOU THINK,

"OH, THAT'S THAT LOOKS LIKE A BIRD."

AND THEN YOU COME CLOSE, AND IT'S A PLASTIC BAG.

AND I THINK THIS KIND OF AMBIGUITY

IS THERE ALL THE TIME.

- WAS IT THE FIRST TIME THAT YOU HAVE BEEN WORKING WITH

THIS KIND OF MATERIAL?

- WITH A TREE? YEAH.

- WITH THE TREE?

- I WAS STARTING TO BE INTERESTED IN

THIS WHOLE TRADITION OF THE PAINTED SCULPTURE,

OF THE PAINTED 3-D THING, YOU KNOW.

AND I'VE USED A COUPLE OF THESE THINGS THAT ARE SO STRONG,

LIKE THE DIRT OR THE SOIL,

THAT IS SO IMPORTANT TO OUR LIFE.

THE WOODS ARE REALLY AMAZING AS A STRUCTURE

AS ALL OF A SUDDEN THESE LINEAR THINGS SPLITS.

- SO YOU HAD A FEW PCES.

HOW DID YOU PUT THEM TOGETHER?

- YOU CAN SEE, HERE IS A CUT.

THAT'S THE TREE. THIS ONE WAS PUT TOGETHER.

SO IT'S ALL A FICTION.

ONCE YOU ARE STARTING TO FEEL,

"AH, THAT'S A REAL TREE," YOU SEE THE CUT.

IT'S MORE LIKE AN EDITED TREE.

- RIGHT. - YEAH.

- AND HOW DID YOU CHOOSE THE COLORS?

- IT HAS TO DO WITH THE, UM,

THE LIGHT THAT YOU HAVE IN THE SPACE.

THE SPACE IS QUITE DARK.

SO I WANTED TO HAVE SOMETHING THAT REFLECTS AS WELL,

SO THE éLOW WAS IMPORTANT FOR ME.

THE éLOW IN FRONT OF HERE DOES SOMETHING TOTALLY DIFFERENT

THAN THE éLOW BEHIND THE ROOTS, RIGHT?

BECAUSE THERE IT KIND OF GLOWS.

- YEAH.

- THE COLORS I USE ARE SO RAW, THEY ARE NOT MIXED.

I LIKE THIS RAW, DIRECT THING

THAT THEY HAVE WITH YOUR BODY.

IT'S LIKE VOICE, LIKE THE VOICE OF A SINGER I THINK,

THAT'S WHAT COLOR VERY MUCH HAS.

- YEAH, YOU HAD A LOT TO SAY.

- YEAH, YEAH.

I HAD A LOT TO SAY, YEAH, YEAH.

- ALL THE BLOCKS FORM ONE LARGE CANVAS.

NOW THAT KATHARINA HAS PAINTED,

WE NEED TO PUT THAT CANVAS BACK TOGETHER.

SO THAT'S WHY LINING UP THE MARKS OF HER BRUSHSTROKES

IF YOU WILL IS VERY IMPORTANT

AND ACTUALLY VITAL TO THE SCULPTURE ITSELF.

- OKAY, MIKE, YOU GOT SOME? TAKE IT OFF HERE.

- GOOD, HOW'S THAT ANGLE?

- I'M HOLDING.

- AM I A PAINTER? AM I A SCULPTOR?

I DON'T KNOW.

I'M TALKING TO THE WORLD WHILE PAINTING ON IT

OR WITH IT

OR IN IT.

THEREFORE THERE IS A COLLISION OF THINGS

WITH THE PAINTED IMAGE.

SOMETHING COMES ABOUT BY THIS COLLISION

THAT CAN'T BE TAKEN APART ANYMORE.

THERE IS THE PLASTIC OR SCULPTURAL THING.

IF I TAKE IT AWAY,

THE PAINTING ISN'T THERE ANYMORE.

AND IF I TAKE MY PAINTING AWAY,

THEN THIS METAMORPHOSIS ISN'T THERE ANYMORE.

SO THESE THINGS KIND OF STICK TOGETHER,

EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE COMING FROM TWO VERY DISTINCTIVE WORLDS.

IT'S NOT NECESSARY TO DECIDE

THAT YOU ARE A PAINTER OR A SCULPTOR.

IT DOESN'T MAKE YOUR WORK MORE RADICAL OR MORE CLEAR.

I TOTALLY ENJOY TO LOOK AT THINGS.

AND I WANT SOMETHING COOL TO LOOK AT.

SO I MAKE THIS FOR MYSELF ALSO A LOT.

I IMMENSELY ENJOY WHEN DOING IT

WHAT COMES OUT OF IT DURING THE MAKING

AND AMUSE MYSELF, YOU KNOW, I ENTERTAIN MYSELF.

BUT IT HAS TO BE COMPLEX AND FUN

AND RIDICULOUS AND TRICKY.

THERE, IT'S ABOUT TRICKS THAT I PLAY TO MYSELF AND TO OTHERS.

I AM THE TRICKSTER REALLY, THE PAINTING TRICKSTER.

DON'T BELIEVE ME, I GUESS.

- IN THE MIRROR PCES,

THE MAIN IDEA IS THE VISUAL OF THE MIRRORS IN THE SPACE

AND HOW THEY'RE REFLECTING AND HOW THEY LOOK.

IS THIS A SPACE?

BECAUSE THERE'S NOBODY THERE.

- YEAH, THERE'S SUPPOSED TO BE. - OH, OKAY.

JUST BE AWARE THAT SOME OF YOU...

THE MOVEMENT IS VERY SIMPLE.

YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE A SKILLED PERFORMER,

BUT YOU HAVE TO BE SOMEWHAT AT EASE.

WE SHOULD ESTABLISH A SPACE THAT YOU SHOULD MOVE IN.

I DRAW FROM MANY SOURCES:

LITERATURE, FILM, MYTH.

WHEN I DECIDED TO SWITCH TO PERFORMANCE,

IT WAS IN THE '60s,

AND I HAD NEVER DONE ANY PERFORMING OR THEATER WORK EVER.

SO I DID WORKSHOPS WITH TRISHA BROWN,

YVONNE RAINER, STEVE PAXTON,

MAYBE JUST ONE OR TWO CLASSES WITH SOME OF THEM

TO LEARN NOW TO MOVE AND TO BE IN PUBLIC.

AT THE SAME TIME I WAS MAKING MY OWN PERFORMANCES.

DO YOU DANCE BACK THERE IN THE BACK ROW?

YEAH, BEHIND THE BACK ROW.

ALL RIGHT, SO JUST WALK THROUGH THAT.

OKAY.

THIS IS A REHEARSAL FOR A PCE CALLED MIRROR PCE ONE,

WHICH I DID ORIGINALLY IN 1969.

YOU'RE IN THESE ROWS

ON THE FLOOR.

YOU SLOWLY RISE

AND MOVE TO THE FIRST POSITION FOR THE IMPROV.

THAT'S THE KEY.

ALWAYS KEEP THE MIRRORS FACING THE AUDIENCE.

REMEMBER THAT.

I WAS INSPIRED BY BORGES FOR THIS FIRST PCE,

READING HIS LABYRINTHS.

THE ORIGINAL IMPETUS WAS TO TAKE ALL THE QUOTES ABOUT MIRRORS

AND I MEMORIZED THEM AND PERFORM THEM.

THE MIRROR WAS A PERFECT VEHICLE

TO BEGIN WITH.

I LIKED THE WAY THE AUDIENCE IS UNEASY

SEEING THEMSELVES IN THE MIRROR.

THEY'RE NOT JUST REFLECTING THE AUDIENCE.

THE MIRRORS ARE REFLECTING THE SPACE

AND THE OTHER PERFORMERS.

SO I LIKE THE DIMENSIONALITY OF THIS.

ALL MY WORK FROM THE BEGINNING INVOLVED DEALING WITH A SPACE.

THE WHOLE PCE IS PLANNED AS FAR AS THE MOVEMENTS.

HOW DOES IT END?

THAT'S PLANNED AHEAD OF TIME.

IT EVOLVES.

A LOT OF MY WORK IS INTUITIVE.

A VERY LONG TIME AGO IN THE '60s,

JUST AS I WAS GOING THROUGH THE TRANSITION

FROM SCULPTURE TO PERFORMANCE,

I WENT TO THE SOUTHWEST BECAUSE I WAS DOING RESEARCH

ABOUT OTHER CULTURES AND RITUALS.

I SAW THE HOPI SNAKE DANCE.

THEY WEAR MASKS.

IT NOT ONLY TRANSFORMS THE BODY, BUT THEY BECOME SOMETHING ELSE.

MASKS MADE ME FEEL MORE AT EASE

AND GAVE ME THE CHANCE TO CREATE A KIND OF ALTER EGO.

THEN WENT TO JAPAN.

I WENT TO THE NOH THEATER A LOT

AND WAS VERY INFLUENCED BY THAT.

ORGANIC HONEY, WHEN I STARTED DOING THAT PROJECT

IN THE EARLY '70s,

I STARTED DRAWING FOR THE CAMERA.

PERFORMANCE GIVES ME IDEAS FOR DRAWINGS.

THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF MY COLLECTION

OF SCREEN MASKS.

I LIKE THAT DOUBLE VISION OF SEEING THE FACE

THROUGH THE MASK.

WHEN I WAS CONSTRUCTING THE CHARACTER OF ORGANIC HONEY,

I WENT TO AN EROTIC STORE AND BOUGHT A MASK LIKE THIS.

IT TRANSFORMS YOUR BODY MOVEMENTS.

IT MEANS THAT I CAN MOVE IN A DIFFERENT WAY

AND REALLY FEEL VERY DIFFERENTLY ABOUT MY BODY AND MYSELF.

I MADE THIS MASK ONE SUMMER AND THIS MASK ANOTHER SUMMER.

SO THESE I USE IN REANIMATION.

I WAS WORKING WITH LANDSCAPE,

AND THE IDEA OF WHAT'S HAPPENING

WITH THE ANIMALS IN THE LANDSCAPE

AND ALSO THE SPIRIT OF THE LANDSCAPE.

AND SO I PUT ON A MASK,

AND I BECOME THAT SPIRIT IN A WAY.

AND THEN JASON'S MUSIC INSPIRES ME

TO MOVE IN A CERTAIN WAY.

AND THAT'S PART OF OUR WORKING TOGETHER.

I WASN'T PREPARED FOR HOW RIGOROUS THE PROCESS IS.

AND JOAN REALLY TOILS OVER THIS MATERIAL THROUGH THE TEXT,

THROUGH THE IMAGES, THROUGH HER MOVEMENTS,

THROUGH THE WARDROBE,

THROUGH THE SOUNDS THAT SHE'S GOING TO MAKE.

THERE'S A LOT KIND OF GOING AROUND IN HER MIND

TO MAKE THESE PCES.

AND, YOU KNOW, I JUST AM TRYING TO SHOW UP AND PLAY SOME PIANO.

[laughs]

THROUGH THAT SUMMER WE SPENT, I DON'T KNOW HOWEVER MANY

- SIX WEEKS. - SIX WEEKS.

- EVERY DAY. - EVERY DAY.

YOU KNOW 9:00 TO 5:00, YOU KNOW, SITTING AT

I HADN'T SAT AT THE PIANO THAT LONG.

- HE SAT AT THE PIANO, HE PLAYED LIKE FOR SEVEN HOURS A DAY.

NOW I LOVED IT, I MEAN,

FOR ME TO HAVE LIVE MUSIC IS VERY INSPIRING.

IT GIVES ME ENERGY.

AND JASON WAS YOUNGER THEN, SO...

SO HE COULD DO IT,

BUT HE TOLD ME THAT HE NEVER PLAYED THE PIANO

SO MUCH IN HIS LIFE, RIGHT?

YEAH, IN ONE SITTING.

- IN ONE SITTING.

- BECAUSE WE'RE PLAYING IN AN OLD FACTORY PARKING LOT

AT THE BOTTOM OF DIA:BEACON.

THE SOUND IS CARRYING EVERYWHERE.

AND I HADN'T PLAYED IN SPACES LIKE THAT.

[piano melody playing]

I WAS JUST TRYING TO MAKE SOUNDS

THAT COULD RESONATE IN THAT SPACE

IN A WAY THAT WOULD MAKE SENSE.

AND SO WHEN I WOULD FALL UPON SOMETHING,

JOAN WOULD SAY, WELL, I LIKEI LIKE THAT.

FOR THE LAST PCE, REANIMATION,

I HAD LIKE A SHARD OF AN IDEA,

BUT IT WOULDN'T MAKE SENSE UNTIL WE ACTUALLY GOT TOGETHER.

I JUST PULLED A BOOK OFF OF THE SHELF, YOU KNOW?

IT MAY HAVE BEEN LIKE SCHUBERT OR SOMETHING,

AND THEN PLAYED IT BACKWARDS.

AND I WAS LIKE, "THIS IS SO PERFECT."

AND SO NOW I HAVE A NEW, LIKE, CATALOG OF MUSIC THAT'S ALL,

YOU KNOW, WELL, THIS IS JOAN JONAS'S SONG.

YOU KNOW, LIKE, SONGS I WROTE FOR JOAN.

[piano melody playing]

I WORK BACK AND FORTH BETWEEN PERFORMANCE AND INSTALLATION

AND AUTONOMOUS VIDEO WORK.

AND EACH FEEDS INTO THE OTHER.

I GET IDEAS FROM THE PERFORMANCE THAT I PUT INTO THE VIDEO

AND THEN IDEAS WHEN I'M MAKING THE VIDEO

THAT I PUT BACK INTO THE PERFORMANCES.

AND THEN ALL OF THAT IS PART OF THE INSTALLATION.

"IT IS OFTEN SAID OF PEOPLE WITH SECOND SIGHT

"THAT THEIR SOUL LEAVES THE BODY.

"THAT DOESN'T HAPPEN TO THE GLACIER.

"BUT THE NEXT TIME ONE LOOKS AT IT,

"THE BODY HAS LEFT THE GLACIER

"AND NOTHING REMAINS EXCEPT THE SOUL CLAD IN AIR.

WASN'T THE FAIRY RAM ACTUALLY THE GLACIER?"

I THINK OF DIFFERENT WAYS THAT I CAN BRING

DRAWING OR IMAGE-MAKING INTO THE ACTUAL PERFORMANCE.

WELL, I PUT A LITTLE BIT OF INK ON THE PAGE

AND THEN PUT ICE CUBES IN THE INK

TO MAKE THESE DIFFERENT CONFIGURATIONS.

SO IT COMES OUT DIFFERENTLY EACH TIME,

I NEVER KNOW EXACTLY HOW.

[piano melody playing]

REANIMATIONIS BASED ON A TEXT BY AN ICELANDIC AUTHOR,

HALLDOR LAXNESS.

IT'S ABOUT A GLACIER,

SO THE SUBJECT IS SNOW AND ICE AND NATURE.

IT SHOULD JUST GO ON THE EDGE.

LET METHERE'S A PICTURE OF IT HERE.

I DID THIS ONCE BEFORE,

AND I DON'T WANT TO DECIDE AGAIN.

JUST DO IT THE SAME WAY I DID IT.

INSTALLATION MEANS AN ARRANGEMENT

OF OBJECTS AND PROJECTIONS.

[television humming]

I DREW ANIMAL HEADS WHEN I WENT TO NORWAY

TO SHOOT THE LANDSCAPE FOR REANIMATION,

ANIMAL HEADS IN THE SNOW

THAT ARE BASED ON MY DOG DRAWINGS.

I CAN DO IT VERY SPONTANEOUSLY.

THERE WAS AN AQUARIUM

WHERE I WENT TO SHOOT THE NORWEGIAN LANDSCAPE,

AND IT HAD FISH FROM THE LOCAL WATERS.

I WANTED TO DEAL WITH THE WATERY WORLD

BECAUSE THE GLACIERS ARE MELTING.

THE YEAR BEFORE, I'D FOUND THIS BOOK OF JAPANESE FISH.

I HAD THIS IDEA.

I HAVE TO MAKE 100 INK DRAWINGS.

LATELY I'VE BEEN MAKING THESE DRAWINGS

USING THIS RORSCHACH METHOD.

YOU PUT INK ON ONE SIDE OF THE PAGE,

AND THEN YOU FOLD THE PAPER OVER.

I VERY DELIBERATELY MAKE A CONFIGURATION

THAT IS GOING TO BE LIKE AN INSECT OF SOME SORT.

I'M AWARE OF WHAT COULD BE READ INTO THINGS.

I DON'T LIKE TO TALK ABOUT THE SYMBOLISM.

IT PUTS TOO MUCH MEANING INTO IT.

I LIKE IT TO BE WHAT IT IS IN A VERY CONCRETE WAY.

- WE ALL KNOW THE STORY OF HELEN OF TROY.

LINES IN THE SAND IS FROM A POEM ABOUT HELEN

GOING TO EGYPT AND NOT TO TROY.

SO INSTEAD OF GOING TO EGYPT,

I ACTUALLY WENT TO LAS VEGAS

AS A KIND OF REPRESENTATION

OF AMERICAN SENSIBILITY AND COMMERCIALISM.

WE FOUND THESE ABANDONED RECREATIONS

OF EGYPTIAN STATUES.

I HAD PHOTOGRAPHS OF MY GRANDMOTHER'S TRIP

TO EGYPT AT THE BEGINNING OF THE 20TH CENTURY,

AND THAT REPRESENTED THE REAL EGYPT.

TWO EGYPTS THE REAL EGYPT AND LAS VEGAS

BECAUSE I WANTED TO REFER TO COLONIALISM

IN RELATION TO OUR INVOLVEMENT WITH EGYPT.

I HAD A COSTUME AND SOME THINGS.

AND THEN HERE WE ARE INSIDE LUXOR.

THE REASON THAT BROUGHT US HERE.

WAS THE FALL OF TROY THE REASON?

CAN ONE WAVE A THOUSAND SHIPS AGAINST ONE KISS IN THE NIGHT?

IT WAS A TRADE WAR.

ANOTHER VIDEO WAS ME DRAWING ON THE BLACKBOARD.

AGAIN, I DREW WITH A STICK.

THAT WAS A WAY TO EXTEND MY BODY

ONTO THE SURFACE OF THE BLACKBOARD.

I REALLY AM INTERESTED IN THE WHOLE IDEA

OF ERASURE, DRAWING, AND ERASING.

AND I DREW AND ERASED OVER AND OVER AGAIN

THE SPHINX AND THE PYRAMID, OBSESSED WITH ONE IMAGE.

I ALSO DREW IT LIVE IN THE PERFORMANCE.

AND THEN THE COUPLE IN BED BASED ON

AN IRISH 8TH CENTURY EPIC, THE TAIN.

IT'S A KING AND A QUEEN ARGUING ABOUT WHO HAS MORE POSSESSIONS.

- IT STILL REMAINS, OH, HUSBAND OF MINE,

THAT MY FORTUNE IS GREATER THAN YOURS.

I LIKE HUMOR ALSO.

IT'S KIND OF HUMOROUS, BUT SERIOUS AT THE SAME TIME.

LINES IN THE SAND HAS TO DO WITH HOW THEY MADE BOUNDARIES

IN THE MIDDLE EAST.

WHEN YOU DRAW A LINE IN THE SAND,

YOU DARE SOMEBODY TO WALK OVER IT,

BUT YOU ALSO MAKE THE BOUNDARY BETWEEN COUNTRIES.

THE SHAPE, THE SCENT,

THE FEEL OF THINGS,

THE ACTUALITY OF THE PRESENT.

A LOT OF THE PCES, ITS BEARING ON THE PAST

ARE BASED ON TEXT.

THEIR BEARING ON THE FUTURE FROM CENTURIES AGO.

PAST.

BUT I WANT TO BRING THEM INTO THE PRESENT.

PRESENT.

THEY'RE POETIC.

FUTURE.

BUT POLITICAL.

- WONDERING IF WE COULD JUST, LIKE, GET, LIKE

- YOU WANT TO GET IT ON THE WALL?

- YEAH, JUST A COUPLE OF STRIPS ON THE WALL.

GROWING UP BETWEEN TWO CULTURES AND TWO LANGUAGES

ALLOWED ME TO GET SOME DISTANCE FROM THEM.

I FEEL AUTHENTIC IN ONE PARTICULAR MILIEU,

BUT I SWITCH MILIEU, AND I FEEL JUST AS AUTHENTIC

IN THAT OTHER PLACE.

AND WHAT IS THAT THING THAT WE CALL IDENTITY ABOUT?

AT A VERY YOUNG AGE THERE WAS AN AWARENESS

OF HOW MUCH IDENTITY IS IN FACT A PERFORMANCE,

A KIND OF CONSTRUCTION,

AND HOW MUCH NARRATIVES

UNDERPIN OUR SOCIETIES AND OUR CULTURES.

BEING ABLE TO SHIFT FROM ONE PLACE TO ANOTHER

ALSO PUTS A KIND OF A FOCUS ON THE SELF

AND THIS PERFORMANCE OF AUTHENTICITY.

THESE ARE THINGS THAT BUBBLE AROUND THE EDGES OF MY WORK.

WHERE IT BECOMES INTERESTING IS HOW TO EXPLORE THAT DIMENSION

WITHOUT WRITING A POLITICAL TREATISE

OR A PCE OF JOURNALISM,

BUT RATHER THROUGH UNDERSTANDING THAT THIS IS IMPLICATED

IN PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS.

THIS IS A SUBJECT THAT I KEEP COMING BACK TO.

[knocking on door]

- EVERYTHING OKAY?

- YEAH.

YEAH.

I'M OKAY.

- WHEN I FIND MY SUBJECTS,

THE PROCESS INVOLVES A LOT OF DOUBT ABOUT ETHICAL DIMENSION

OF WHAT I'M DOING VIS-A-VIS SOMEONE ELSE'S STORY,

SOMEONE ELSE'S LIFE.

- THESE GUYS HAVE TO BE HERE?

I DIDN'T REALIZE YOU'D BE FILMING.

- WE CAN STOP IF YOU'RE UNCOMFORTABLE.

- THE KIND OF SPACE I CREATE TO THROW THOSE DOUBTS INTO

AND SHUT THEM AWAY IS CREATING

THIS KIND OF DOPPELGANGER ART, THISTHIS SORT OF DOUBLE

WHO BECOMES THE TARGET FOR THOSE ISSUES.

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOU

AND SOMEONE WHO SITS IN AN AIRPLANE?

- THERE'S NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN US.

WE DO THE SAME JOB. - BUT YOU'RE NOT A REAL PILOT.

- SO WHAT? YOU'RE NOT A REAL JOURNALIST.

ALL THOSE KINDS OF ROLES OF SOMEONE WHO IS LISTENING

WHILE AT THE SAME TIME OSTENSIBLY FORMING JUDGMENTS...

- YOU SURE YOU'RE OKAY?

- ALLOW ME TO EXTERNALIZE DOUBTS

AND TO GAIN A LITTLE BIT OF DISTANCE

FROM A SUBJECT THAT MIGHT BE

VERY DRY OR VERY PERSONAL.

IT CREATES A CONVERSATION ABOUT

THE RIGHT TO TAKE SOMEONE'S STORY AND CHANGE IT.

- YOU DON'T LIKE IT?

- WHY DON'T YOU ASK ME A BETTER QUESTION?

- THIS PROJECT IS TRIGGERED BY A CONVERSATION WITH SOMEONE

WHO IS WORKING IN THE DRONE PROGRAM.

DRONES ARE THESE UNMANNED AIRCRAFT

THAT ARE CONTROLLED REMOTELY.

THERE IS A PILOT WHO CONTROLS THE MOVEMENT OF THE AIRCRAFT.

THE OTHER PERSON IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL THE OPTICS.

- 5000 FEET'S THE BEST.

YOU'RE A LOT MORE SITTING AT 5,000 FEET.

I CAN TELL YOU WHAT TYPE OF SHOES YOU'RE WEARING

FROM A MILE AWAY.

WE HAVE THE IR-INFRARED,

WHICH WE CAN SWITCH TO AUTOMATICALLY,

AND THAT'LL PICK UP ANY HEAT SIGNATURES

OR COLD SIGNATURES.

I MEAN, IF SOMEONE SITS DOWN, LET'S SAY, ON A COLD SURFACE

FOR A WHILE AND THEN GETS UP,

YOU'LL STILL SEE THE HEAT FROM THE PERSON.

IT KIND OF LOOKS LIKE A WHITE BLOSSOM

JUST SHINING UP IN HEAVEN.

IT'S QUITE BEAUTIFUL.

I MEAN, HECK, IF YOU SEE SOMEBODY

LIGHT UP A CIGARETTE ON THAT, THAT'S A HUGE BEACON.

YOU'RE JUST ON A PRESET PATH

FLYING A CIRCULAR ORBIT,

WATCHING THEM AS THEY'RE SMOKING

FROM ABOUT TWO TO THREE MILES AWAY.

AND THE COMPUTER WILL FIGURE OUT THE TRAJECTORY,

THE DISTANCE, AND THE SPEED

AND COME UP WITH AN ESTIMATED TIME

THAT IT WOULD TAKE FOR THE MISSILE TO IMPACT.

THE PILOT WILL GET ALL THE CLEARANCES

THAT ARE NECESSARY TO FIRE.

HE'LL RELEASE THE MISSILE,

AND I'LL GUIDE IT IN ON TO ITS TARGET.

[knocking on door]

- HEY, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

WE'RE HERE.

EVERYTHING OKAY?

- YEAH.

YEAH. EVERYTHING'S OKAY.

SO WHAT DO YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT?

- THAT'S WHAT I WAS GOING TO ASK YOU.

- MAN, I DON'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT ANYTHING.

YOU'RE THE ONE PAYING, REMEMBER?

- NOT PAYING THAT MUCH.

- YOU WANT TO PAY ANY MORE?

[bleep].

- YOU OKAY?

- OH, YES, IT'S JUST JUNK FOOD.

- THE WORK OFFERS A RESTAGING OF THAT CONVERSATION

AND SEVERAL FLASHBACKS.

THEN EACH FLASHBACK,

WE EVENTUALLY SEE A FLYING OVERHEAD SHOT

OF A LANDSCAPE.

THAT VOICE THAT ACCOMPANIES THAT SHOT

IS THE REAL SENSOR OPERATOR'S VOICE,

DESCRIBING HIS REAL LIFE AND WORK.

THE WORK TRIES TO WEAVE TOGETHER

THIS PERSON'S RECOLLECTIONS AND HIS CONVERSATIONS,

REIMAGINING THAT ENCOUNTER SEVERAL TIMES OVER

AS A KIND OF UNRESOLVED, REPEATING PCE.

- USUALLY I WOULDN'T GET HOME UNTIL 10:00 IN THE MORNING.

YOU JUMP IN THE SHOWER. GET YOUR BREAKFAST.

PLAY SOME VIDEO GAMES FOR, YOU KNOW,

FOR FOUR HOURS AND THEN TRY TO SLEEP.

II GUESS PREDATOR IS SIMILAR TO PLAYING A VIDEO GAME,

BUT PLAYING THE SAME VIDEO GAME FOUR YEARS STRAIGHT,

EVERY SINGLE DAY ON THE SAME LEVEL.

BUT THEN YOU HAVE YOUR MOMENTS

WHEN THERE'S A REAL EMERGENCY GOING ON,

AND THAT'S JUST WHERE STRESS COMES INTO PLAY.

HOW DO I HIT THAT TRUCK,

AND HOW FAR AWAY SHOULD I PUT THE MISSILE TO GET THE TRUCK

SO THAT WAY I DON'T HAVE ANY DAMAGE

TO THE SURROUNDING BUILDINGS OR TO THE PEOPLE

OR HURT ANYBODY ELSE'S LIFE THAT'S AROUND THERE?

AND SOMETIMES I MAKE MISTAKES.

I MEAN, THERE IS HORROR SIDES TO WORKING PREDATOR.

YOU SEE A LOT OF DEATH.

I MEAN, THERE CAME A POINT AFTER, YOU KNOW,

FIVE YEARS OF DOING THIS THAT

IT'S JUST II HAD TO THINK ABOUT,

WOW, THERE, THERE'S SO MUCH LOSS OF LIFE

THAT WAS A DIRECT RESULT OF ME.

I MEAN, THERE WAS

A LOT OF PERSONAL STUFF I HAD TO GO THROUGH,

A LOT OF CHAPLAINS I HAD TO TALK TO.

AND A LOT OF PEOPLE LOOK, LIKE,

HOW CAN YOU HAVE PTSD IF YOU WEREN'T

ACTIVELY IN A WAR ZONE?

WELL, TECHNICALLY SPEAKING,

EVERY SINGLE DAY I WAS ACTIVE IN A WAR ZONE.

I MEAN I MAY NOT HAVE BEEN PERSONALLY AT HARM,

BUT I WAS DIRECTLY AFFECTING PEOPLE'S LIVES OVER THERE

EVERY SINGLE DAY.

YOU KNOW, IT'S NOT LIKE A VIDEO GAME.

I CAN'T SWITCH IT OFF.

IT'S ALWAYS THERE.

I'D VERY MUCH RATHER THINK ABOUT

THE WORK IN TERMS OF PORTRAITURE.

WE KNOW THAT SOMEBODY WHO'S PAINTING A PORTRAIT

IS INEVITABLY GOING TO USE A PARTICULAR STYLE

IN ORDER TO REPRESENT THE SUBJECT.

WHAT I DO IN A SENSE VERY OFTEN ARE PORTRAITS OF, IN THIS CASE,

THE DRONE SENSOR OPERATOR OR LABORERS IN SEX INDUSTRY.

BUT BECAUSE THEY ARE PORTRAITS,

THERE IS SOMEBODY WHO'S TELLING THEIR STORY

AND TELLING THEIR STORIES ARE INCREASINGLY INTERFERING

WITH A MORE PASSIVE AND FLUID RECEPTION

OF WHO THESE PEOPLE ARE AND WHAT THEY DO.

SO JULIA, WHAT'SWHAT'S, UH,

WHAT'S COMING UP THEN AFTER THE DOGS ARE TAKEN CARE OF?

WHAT DO YOU DO?

- I'M GOING TO MAKE MY BREAKFAST SHAKE, RUN MY BATH.

THE STRUCTURE OF THIS PROJECT IS LITERALLY SHOWING A DAY

IN THE LIFE OF WORKERS IN THE ADULT FILM INDUSTRY.

I WANTED TO FIND A WAY TO CONNECT TO A COMPANY

AND TO FILM THEM FILMING THEIR FILM.

AT THAT POINT I STARTED TO WRITE VIGNETTES

THAT I WOULD COMBINE WITH THIS.

SO THERE'S A DOCUMENTARY COMPONENT TO IT

AND A FICTIONAL COMPONENT OF COURSE.

I WANTED TO SHOW THEM SIMULTANEOUSLY

BECAUSE I WANTED TO SHOW HOW THEIR SEPARATE LIVES

AT SOME POINT CONVERGE BECAUSE OF THEIR WORK.

THE FOUR SCREENS REPRESENT AN ATTEMPT

TO ARTICULATE THAT SPATIALLY.

THE WORK CONTINUOUSLY BRAIDS

STORIES AND INDIVIDUALS TOGETHER,

AND IT PULLS THEM APART.

AND THERE IS KIND OF A STRUCTURAL DYNAMIC THERE

THAT'S ABOUT MOVEMENT AND REPETITION

AND THE POTENTIAL FOR SEEING BEAUTY IN SOMETHING

WHICH IS AS PEDESTRIAN

AS FOUR PEOPLE DRIVING TO WORK IN L.A.

I MEAN, HOW BORING IS THAT?

I RELY ON FICTION VERY MUCH FOR MY WORK.

EVERYTHING THAT RISES MUCH CONVERGE

IS THE TITLE OF FLANNERY O'CONNOR'S SHORT STORY

WHICH SERVED AS AN INSPIRATION

FOR WHAT I WAS THINKING AT THE TIME

AND HOW I WAS GOING TO APPROACH A PARTICULAR SUBJECT.

- WHY I GOT IN THE BUSINESS?

IT'S MY PARENTS.

- YOUR PARENTS?

- YEAH.

- WERE THEY ALSO ADULT FILM DIRECTORS?

- NO.

MY PARENTS WERE HIPPIES.

- OH, SO WERE MINE.

- NO.

NO, NO, NO, NO.

MY PARENTS WERE THE REAL DEAL.

- MINE WERE TOO.

- NO, DUDE, IT'S WRITTEN ALL OVER YOU.

YOUR PARENTS WERE YOUR TYPICAL FAIR-WEATHER, HAPPY,

NON-THREATENING FLOWER CHILDREN.

THERE'S ONE CHARACTER WHOSE POLITICS

IS CORRECT ON THE ONE HAND,

BUT HE'S COMPLETELY RESENTFUL TOWARDS HIS MOTHER

WHO REPRESENTS THIS SORT OF OTHER IN THE STORY.

- REAGAN DEMOCRATS, AM I RIGHT?

- MORE OR LESS.

- THEY WERE HIPPIES,

AND THEY LIVED IN A COMMUNE.

AND IN THIS COMMUNE THEY WERE VERY BUSY CHIPPING AWAY

AT THE HIERARCHIES AND THE KIND OF POWER

THAT UNDERPINS SOCIETY AT THAT TIME.

PART OF THAT IS SEX.

PART OF THAT IS FAMILY AND ITS RELATION TO SEX.

SO HE DESCRIBES A PAST WHERE 38 PEOPLE

ARE SLEEPING AND WORKING TOGETHER.

SEX IS SOMETHING THAT YOU DO WITH EVERYONE.

IT'S YOUR OBLIGATION TO DO IT.

IT BECOMES IN A SENSE, WORK,

SOMETHING THAT DEFINES THAT PARTICULAR SOCIETY

AND THAT CHILDREN ARE ALSO INVOLVED IN THIS.

THIS IS SOMETHING THAT THIS CHARACTER HAS BEEN THROUGH.

THIS IS THE PARTICULAR CONUNDRUM THAT THAT PERSON IS STUCK IN

AND THAT HE REPRESENTS.

- OKAY, SEXY TIME, READY?

THIS ONE'S GOT TO BE THE ONE FOR ALL THE MARBLES.

I FEEL IT IN MY LOINS.

HERE WE GO. PLEASE HOLD.

AND SEXY TIME, AND HOLD ON PLEASE.

WHEN THEY'RE ACTING IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA FOR THEIR FILM,

THEY'RE IN A GENRE.

THEY'RE MANNERED.

HERE WE GO. ACTION.

- HE TURNED OUT TO BE 70 YEARS OLD.

- WHAT?

- YEAH, HIS PICTURE WAS FROM 1986.

THIS WOMAN IS A GODDESS.

SHE NEEDS TO BE APPRECIATED LIKELIKE A

LIKE A FINE WINE, AGED TO PERFECTION.

JUST, JUST...

- IT'S A VERY STYLIZED KIND OF PERFORMANCE,

USING A PARTICULAR LANGUAGE FOR A PARTICULAR AUDIENCE.

THEY WERE IN A SENSE THE MOST BANAL,

AND THAT'S WHAT I WAS AFTER.

IT'S VERY, VERY POSTMODERN IN A SENSE.

THEY'RE NOT BAD ACTORS.

THEY'RE JUST PLAYING IN A PARTICULAR WAY.

IT'S GENRE,

AND I LIKE USING THESE DIFFERENT GENRES

AND SORT OF UNPACKING THEIR LANGUAGES

AND PLAYING AROUND WITH THAT.

AS SOON AS SHE STARTS TALKING, IT'S GOING TO MOVE.

- OKAY. - TOM, DO YOU MIND IF...

- THE FIRST PAGE? "BUENO TODO ESTAS?"

- YES, PLEASE. - OKAY.

- [speaking Spanish]

- THIS CHARACTER PULLS YOU INTO ANOTHER LOCATION,

WHICH IS A STUDIO.

SHE'S YOUR GUIDE INTO THIS WORLD.

SHE REAPPEARS WHEN YOU'RE LOST OR BORED.

HER READING OF THE SCRIPT AND INTERACTION WITH A DIRECTOR

CONSTITUTES A DISTANT AND CRITICAL ELEMENT

AND INTRODUCES THIS OTHER NARRATIVE

REGARDING CROSSING THE BORDER AND MIGRATION.

BUT SHE REALLY SAID ALL THIS STUFF.

EVERYTHING STANDS ON SOMETHING ELSE.

EVERYTHING STANDS FOR SOMETHING ELSE.

- YES, SHE DID.

OF COURSE, THERE'S SOME EDITING.

- AND ALL THAT STUFF ABOUT LICKING,

YOU KNOW, THETHE WET DOG AT THE BEGINNING

AND THEN THETHE WIND LICKING

AND COLD, BITTER BURSTS.

WAIT, WHERE DOES IT SAY THIS?

- WHEN THEY'RE ON THE TRUCK ON THE WAY TO THE BORDER.

BUT IT'S BITING, NOT LICKING.

- RIGHT.

IT'S JUST A WAY TO STOP THE FLOW.

YOU KNOW, IT MAKES YOU THINK TWICE

ABOUT WHAT YOU'RE HEARING.

- THERE WILL BE A MAN AND HIS WIFE

WHO ARE UNDERGOING A PARTICULAR CRISIS

AND PERHAPS A MOMENT OF TRANSFORMATION

PERHAPS NOT.

OKAY, ACTION.

- THESE TWO BROTHERS I TOLD YOU ABOUT,

THE ONES I KEEP SEEING.

- YOU MEAN BROTHERS, LIKE TWO BLACK DUDES, OR, LIKE...

- THEY WERE WHITE, JOSH.

BIOLOGICAL BROTHERS.

MAYBE TWINS.

THEY LOOKED REALLY SIMILAR.

- WHAT THEY FIND?

- AN EGG.

- WHAT KIND OF EGG, I MEAN I MEAN LIKELIKE A CHICKEN EGG?

- IN ORDER TO RESOLVE THE CRISIS,

THEY NEED TO PRODUCE SOMETHING.

AND SO THEY DON'T PRODUCE A CHILD.

THEY PRODUCE A STORY, AND THAT STORY PRODUCES AN EGG.

- THIS WAS, LIKE, PERFECTLY OVAL.

ANDAND IT LOOKED OLD.

TRUST ME, JOSH. IT WAS AN EGG.

PLUS, THEY HANDLED IT CAREFULLY.

- PEOPLE ALWAYS TALK ABOUT MY WORK

IN TERMS OF THE REAL AND THE FICTIONAL.

AND THAT IS NOT INTERESTING TO ME AT ALL,

THESE NOTIONS OF TRUTH AND THE REAL

ARE HUGELY IMPORTANT FOR US WHEN WE'RE TALKING IN TERMS

OF A PROCESS OF JUSTICE.

I'M NOT A JOURNALIST.

MY WORK DOES NOT EXIST IN THE COURT OF LAW.

IT EXISTS IN THE SPACE OF ART,

AND THE SPACE OF ART ALLOWS

FOR AMBIGUITIES AND FOR CONTRADICTIONS.

THIS WHOLE FETISHIZED NOTION OF TRUTH AND IDEAL

WHICH IS A LOVELY THING TO ASPIRE TO

IS IN A SENSE THE PLAYTHING IN THE WORK.

TO THINK ABOUT THE WORK IN TERMS OF TRUTH AND LIES

OR TRUTH AND FICTION IS TO KILL THE WORK.

[knocking on door]

- WHATWHAT ARE YOU DOING?

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