A Temporary State of Grace

A Temporary State of Grace

Patty Chang, Melons (At a Loss), 1998. 4:00 minutes, SD Video.

Bar Laika presents
A Temporary State of Grace
May 23, 2019, 9pm
Bar Laika by e-flux
224 Greene Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11238

You’re sitting in a bar and overweight Jesus walks in and points a glowing finger directly at you. Or perhaps its not Jesus but a fleshy baby Satan or God himself or your mother, it’s hard to tell with all the smoke and thunder. And you think about running but your expensive drink just arrived and you’re thirsty, and maybe each person in the bar is seeing their own God Baby Mom Satan, but rather than look around, you check your phone and you have a new message.

An evening of short videos precariously situated between popular culture, popular religion and popular pastimes such as eating, dancing, singing, spinning, bathing, praying, punching, cutting, crawling, fighting, flying. 

A balancing act, a floating just above, an acting out [or in], till it becomes real, or forestalled, or goes away, or at least something you can dance to.

With videos by Ja’tovia Gary, Johan Grimonprez, John Smith, Michael Smith, Patty Chang, Phoebe Osborne, Samantha Nye, Sondra Perry, Suzie Silver.

Curated by Shelly Silver, a New York-based artist and intermittent curator and organizer.

For more information, contact laika@e-flux.com.


Shelly Silver is a New York-based artist working with the still and moving image. Her work explores contested territories between public and private, narrative and documentary, and—increasingly in recent years—the watcher and the watched. She has exhibited worldwide, including at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Tate Modern, Centre Georges Pompidou, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Yokohama Museum, the London ICA, and the London, the Singapore, New York, Moscow, and Berlin Film Festivals. Silver has received fellowships and grants from organizations such as the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the NEA, NYSCA, NYFA, the Jerome Foundation, the Japan Foundation, and Anonymous was a Woman. Her films have been broadcast by BBC/England, PBS/USA, Arte/Germany, France, Planete/Europe, RTE/Ireland, SWR/Germany, and Atenor/Spain, among others, and she has been a fellow at the DAAD Artists Program in Berlin, the Japan/US Artist Program, Cité des Arts in Paris, Bogliasco, and Tokyo Art & Space/TOKAS. Her most recent film Girls | Museum (2020, 71 minutes) was awarded the 3SAT Prize for Best German Documentary. Silver is Professor and Director of Moving Image in the Visual Arts Program, School of the Arts, Columbia University.

Patty Chang is a Los Angeles-based artist and educator who uses performance, video, installation, and narrative forms when considering identity, gender, transnationalism, colonial legacies, the environment, large-scale infrastructural project,s and impacted subjectivities. Her most recent collaborative project, Learning Endings, is a multi-part interdisciplinary research that has surfaced amidst the overlapping contexts of climate crisis, threatened ocean ecosystems, and challenges to scientific expertise. In addition to numerous awards and fellowships, her work has been exhibited at institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art, Guggenheim Museum, New Museum, M+ Museum in Hong Kong, and Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden. She teaches at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA.

John Smith (b. 1952, London) studied film at the Royal College of Art and was an active member of the London Filmmakers Co-op. Inspired in his formative years by conceptual art and structural film, but also fascinated by the immersive power of narrative and the spoken word, he has developed an extensive body of work that subverts the perceived boundaries between documentary and fiction, representation and abstraction. Known for their formal ingenuity, anarchic wit, and oblique narratives, Smith’s meticulously crafted films rework and transform reality, playfully exploring and exposing the language of cinema. Since 1972 Smith has made over fifty film, video, and installation works that have been shown in independent cinemas, art galleries, and on television around the world and awarded major prizes at many international film festivals. Smith lives and works in London. His work is held in the public collections of Tate Gallery; Arts Council England; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Muzeum Sztuki, Lodz; FRAC Île de France, Paris; and Kunstmuseum Magdeburg, Germany. He is represented by Tanya Leighton, Berlin and Los Angeles, and Kate MacGarry, London.

Johan Grimonprez’s critically acclaimed works dance on the borders of practice and theory, art and cinema, documentary and fiction, demanding a double take on the part of the viewer. Informed by an archeology of present-day media, his works seek out the tension between the intimate and the bigger picture of globalization. Grimonprez questions our contemporary sublime framed by the industry of fear. By suggesting new narratives, his works emphasize a multiplicity of histories and realities. Using documentary material, found footage, historical items from archives, self-made home videos, news pictures, advertising, video clips, and excerpts from Hollywood films, Grimonprez tries to give some meaning to the havoc wreaked by history. The questioning of our consensus reality, which Grimonprez defines as “a reality that is entangled with the stories we tell ourselves in the worldview we agree on sharing” is among the themes he explores. Traveling the main festival circuit from the Berlinale to Sundance, his films have garnered many awards. Grimonprez’s curatorial projects have been exhibited at museums worldwide, such as the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich; MoMA, New York; The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh; Blaffer Museum, Houston; and Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (S.M.A.K.), Gent.

Utilizing computer-generated images, animation, and avatars, Sondra Perry’s videos, performances, and installations foreground digital tools as a way to critically reflect on new technologies of representation and to remobilize their potential. By revealing the calibration, protocols, and algorithms inherent within technology, she interrogates the connection between technology and the black body, striving to form a corrective against technology’s unreflective naturalization. Perry’s exhibitions include Disguise: Masks and Global African Art, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, 2015; A Curious Blindness, Miriam & Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, New York (2015); Of Present Bodies, Arlington Arts Center, Arlington VA (2014), and an appearance in the fourth iteration of the Greater New York exhibition at MoMA PS1 (2015). The artist’s works have been screened at venues such as Les Voutes, Paris, France; Light Industry, New York; Video Art and Experimental Film Festival, Tribeca Cinemas, New York; Lu Xun Academy of Fine Arts Museum, Shenyang, China; and LOOP Barcelona Media Arts Festival among others.

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