THE THING @ VON presents
an evening with Joshua Thorson
Where? VON, 3 Bleecker Street (at Bowery)
When? Monday, April 16, 7:30 pm
Joshua Thorson is an artist, curator, and writer. His work has been
exhibited in numerous venues. His recent essay on Lisa Steele’s
narrative works will appear in the forthcoming DVD box set of her work
from Vtape in Toronto. In addition to his dissertation projects,
Thorson has been working on a body of short fiction.
Rock and a Hard Place, 2006, 22" (Color, Stereo, 4:3, DVcam and VHS
One night in New York, not long after 9/11, a friend gave me a New
Yorker article about some events that took place in mid-‘90s; the
article was titled “Virtual Love” and was written by Tad Friend. The
story was everything that troubled me about what had happened after
identity politics took hold in the 1990s, leaving in its wake a
compartmentalized, quarantined, impotent struggle between individuals
who answer to no one–where victims are suspect. The script is adapted
from an amalgam of articles, media, and online information regarding a
boy named Anthony Godby Johnson, author of the “best-selling” memoir, A
Rock and a Hard Place. (Coincidentally, as I finished this tape, the
J.T. Leroy phenomenon broke).
Protest Rushes, 2009, 3" (Color, Silent, 4:3, Super8 transferred to DV
Part of an ongoing project of filming, on Super8, one-person protests of
seemingly innocuous locations or phenomenon that comprise the banal
failures of every day life.
New Testament, 2007, 20" (Color, Stereo, 16:9, HDV video).
Near the end of Bush’s presidency, I desperately wanted to be able to
think about the future again. This video is about the use and abuse of
the idea of “Christ” by politicians who distort the basic ideas and
teachings into their image of a capitalist society of control, and how
ridiculously impossible that is; it is just as much about how race has
been manipulated for political purposes. In this video, the black
Christ figure continuously escapes control towards..... Is that Isis?
The script is loosely based on two texts by D.H. Lawrence, among his
last works, Apocalypse and The Man Who Died, while keeping in mind
Philip K. Dick’s Valis trilogy.
Divorce 2.0, 2010, 14" (Color, Stereo, 16:9, HD animation and DVcam
I developed this piece out of a one-paragraph “news-of-the-weird”
article that was in the New York Post. I wasn’t entirely sure why I
saved this article until I began to think about how I hover around my
laptop at certain times during the day, checking messages or email or
the news or blogs or Facebook, whatever–the way that I circle the
computer, come in for a dive, leave the room, come back, leave again,
return... And how easy it is to lash out online at someone I’ve never
seen, or simply delete a person from my world or change my preferences
to hide them from view. What are the consequences of friendship
reconfigured as a digital apparition and its inherent disposability?
Horizon, 2011, 13" (Color, Stereo, 16:9, High-8 video transferred to web
transferred to HD video).
In 1982 EPCOT Center, or, the Experimental Prototype Community of
Tomorrow, opened–a little late in for such a utopic modernist project.
It featured a ride called “Horizons,” which was sponsored by G.E, that
showed a future in which technology and innovation coupled with the
family unit would evolve into exciting and previously unimaginable
territories–colonies in outer space and under the Earth’s oceans, etc.
In 2000, the ride was demolished. Sometimes I nostalgically mourn the
passing of the Modern moment, especially in terms of architecture and
its desire to think the future, even if, as was the case for G.E.’s
“Horizons,” it was all just a manipulative corporate ruse. The story in
the video was written to loosely accompany the archival video footage of
Masturbation in Space (collab. with Mike Harringer), 2011, 4" (Color,
Stereo, 16:9, HD Animation and Mpeg video).
This video, commissioned by Suzie Silver for her Strange Attractors
project, is a collaboration between myself and Mike Harringer, who I met
at a book fair in 2009. Harringer recounts an extra-terrestrial
abduction that followed a humorous late-night conversation he had with
his boyfriend about Whitley Streiber and Christopher Walken.
Harringer's story is accompanied by CGI video sequences that vaguely
illustrate Harringer’s story about auto-eroticism-as-performance for
curious, sex-positive alien anthropologists.
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