Islands In The Stream:

Benjamin Funke &

Gabrielle Gopinath

With Bitchin Bajas

JUNE 1, 2012 — JUNE 29, 2012

ISLANDS IN THE STREAM features DVD projections and photographic stills by multimedia artists Benjamin Funke and Gabrielle Gopinath.

At the exhibition opening, Cooper Crain and Dan Quinlivan of Bitchin Bajas will perform live in a multimedia performance with real time video editing by the artists.

The videos in the show, titled Water Wrackets and Intervals, began as reinterpretations of Greenaway shorts from the late ‘60s.  In both works the auteurs bring precision timing and an acid-etched color palette to the stylishly deadpan depiction of ebbs and flows.

Crowds of art gawkers captured at the Venice Biennale in Intervals, like the Indiana floodwaters that saturate the screen in Water Wrackets, seek the lowest point in the landscape. Crowds and liquids propagate across the screen in trickles and flows to the spacey drones of Crain’s soundtrack.

The soundtrack for Water Wrackets, which came out in 2011 as an LP / DVD set on Kallistei Editions, features episodic arrangements of acid-drenched garage psychedelia drawing inspiration from Ravi Shankar, Sun Ra and 1970s Krautrock.

Crain and Quinlivan will be performing the Water Wrackets soundtrack at the opening, in addition to debuting material from their brand new release on Kallistei Editions, Vibraquatic.

The artists express their thanks to the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, the Center for Creative Computing, the University of Notre Dame Graduate School of Arts and Letters and Richard Gray for their support of these projects.

Benjamin Funke: I investigate the spectacle of contemporary culture, focusing specifically on forms of masculine performance and collective experience using sculpture, audio/video and photography to inject politicized commentary into my work.  First harvesting images from the digital reservoirs that surround us, I then alter these images using both digital and manual methods.  By de-familiarizing viewers’ expectations, they can be moved to reevaluate the content and the context of what they see. My earlier works about our collective fascination with professional sports (steroid usage in Major League Baseball®, fatalities in Nascar®) have primed this current interest in making art about popular music and fan cultures.

My work often hinges on specific, historically documented moments in which there is an identifiable change of state.  These pivotal moments become the starting points for my investigations of singular and collective experience. These investigations often proceed by contorting and/or expanding the original moments through video and time-lapse photography. Since the work deals with contemporary forms of idol worship, I intend viewers to experience the intense emotional relations that fans develop with their icons.  It induces viewers to inhabit what might be called fanspace: a highly charged ambivalent state that oscillates between sympathy and criticism, love and disgust.  The work is driven by my sincere love for and identification with the subcultures it represents.  Simultaneously, elements of punk aesthetic and attitude seed the work with dystopic implications – suggesting our civilization is in deep decline.

Gabrielle Gopinath studies modern and contemporary art in the postwar period. Her research interests include contemporary art, video and new media. Her book manuscript in progress addresses subject/object relations in early video art. She is currently working on an essay about 1960s performance artists’ engagement with laboratory techniques and operant conditioning. She has recently completed two articles titled “Not I: Oral Fixations in 1970s Video” and “Reversing Time’s Arrow in Nam June Paik’s Guadalcanal Requiem.” She will be presenting the latter at the Universities Art Association of Canada’s annual conference in Ottawa this fall.