Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Gretchen Skogerson's Lecture

The video footage of Gretchen Skogeron's lecture is now up on our YouTube channel. All five parts are below for your viewing pleasure.
In his introduction, Youngsuk Suh emphasized the importance of "emptiness" to Skogerson's work, particularly her more recent projects documenting industrial landscapes at night. Then Skogerson took over, starting her lecture with an overview of her earlier work, beginning with her student days. Her first video pieces centered on the body and had some roots in feminism, which Skogerson attributed somewhat to the masculine and tech-based environment she was immersed in as part of the small electronic arts department at a large engineering school.
She then described her elaborate thesis installation, which she said made her realize she wanted her work to be simpler. She also spoke about a piece that stemmed from a personal ad she left in the Village Voice and the resulting messages on her answering machine.
Another intriguing piece was a collaboration called "Mirror, Mirror" consisting of a mirror that would say "psst!" to passers-by and then, when they leaned in close, it would tell them a secret. The "secrets" were also gleaned from a solicitation in the Village Voice.
This brought us to DRIVE-THRU, which came from Skogerson's "being in love with" the nighttime devastated industrialism in Miami. The piece was selected for the Whitney Biennial. For the Whitney's satellite exhibition at the Park Avenue Armory, Skogerson worked with an industrial sign company to recreate five of the signs from her video. Skogerson showed a striking image of the Armory with the signs installed that had been printed in the New York Times.
Next Skogerson gave an overview of her residency at Pittsburgh's Mattress Factory and other recent projects, all of which have had something of a focus on light as a material for art-making. Skogerson pointed out that light's potential as a material is easy to ignore because it is so ubiquitous in our lives, but that it can nonetheless be a powerful tool.
The lecture concluded with a viewing of Skogerson's latest work, Night Parking, another piece devoted to industrial spaces at night, and a thoughtful question-and-answer session.
For all the details and a look at some of the pieces Skogerson discussed, watch the lecture in full below:

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