Overburden: Patty Chang and David Kelley

Overburden: Patty Chang and David Kelley

Patty Chang​, In Love (still), 2001.

Overburden: Patty Chang and David Kelley
Two-part screening program followed by a conversation with the artists

Admission starts at $5

October 14, 2023, 4pm
172 Classon Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205

Join us at e-flux Screening Room on Saturday, October 14 for Overburden, for a two-part screening program of the films of Patty Chang and David Kelley followed by an in-person conversation with the artists.

Overburden is a term borrowed from mining that refers to the material (rock and ecosystem) that lies above valuable ore aimed for economic exploitation, and that needs to be removed before extraction can occur. It can also refer to an excessive load that a person carries. The films of Patty Chang and David Kelley, spanning over twenty years, evoke the effects of development and extraction, both emotionally and physically, on people and the environment. 

The first program starts at 4pm with three films by Patty Chang, followed by a reception, and the second program starts at 6pm with three films made collaboratively by Patty Chang and David Kelley, followed by a conversation.

The first program presents three works by Chang: Milk Debt (2020), In Love (2001), and We Are All Mothers (2022). The emotional and physical labor of care unites these disparate works. Milk Debt presents a chorus of mothers pumping breast milk in public spaces while reciting collectively sourced lists of fears. For In Love, Chang performs the ritual of eating with her mother and father. We Are All Mothers, a New York premiere, is a lament on the life and death of a young porpoise.

The second program presents three works that Chang and Kelley produced together in China, Laos, and North America: Shangri-La (2005), Spiritual Myopia (2018), and Route 3 (2011). These films each perform differently in the marginal spaces of nations where tourism, industry, and development remake the landscapes and communities in their wakes.

4pm Program
Followed by a reception

Patty Chang​, Milk Debt (2020, 53 minutes)
Rich with the hormones prolactin and oxytocin—that together promote bonding between mother and newborn—breast milk, in Milk Debt, becomes a charged and timely metaphor for the importance of empathy, understanding, and mutual obligation during a time of worldwide crises.

Patty Chang​, In Love (2001, 4 minutes)
Chang shares eating an onion with her mother and her father.  A video about the abstract boundaries of love, sacrifice, familial relations, and inheritance. 

Patty Chang​, We Are All Mothers (2022, 20 minutes)
Chang reflects on observing a porpoise necropsy as part of Learning Endings, her collaboration with wildlife pathologist Aleksija Neimanis and feminist ecological scholar Astrida Neimanis. We Are All Mothers considers the archive, kinship, motherhood, and interspecies empathy, and imagines love’s role in the survival and thriving of human as well as more-than-human species.
*The porpoise photographs were taken in the context of a national disease surveillance program in which found dead animals are examined to determine cause of death and to contribute to the health of living populations. The views expressed in this artwork do not necessarily express the views of National Veterinary Institute, Sweden (SVA).

6pm Program
Followed by a conversation with the artists

Patty Chang and David Kelley, Shangri-La (2005, 40 minutes)
Shangri-La documents various attempts to recreate its fictional, eponymous subject, in the real-life Shangri-La, a town in China’s Yunnan province renamed in 2002 to attract tourism. The artists construct scenes from James Hilton’s 1933 novel Lost Horizon in the rapidly developing, ethnically Tibetan town.

Patty Chang and David Kelley, Spiritual Myopia (2018, 15 minutes)
A video dealing with the invisible labor and desire of the residents of the oil industry boom towns of Fort McMurray in the Canadian Tar Sands and the oil refining town of Port Arthur Texas. The film draws together these twin cities, related spatially as nodes in the same Petro-chemical infrastructure.

Patty Chang and David Kelley, Route 3 (2011, 27 minutes)
A three-channel video about a two-lane highway in rural Laos that connects China to Thailand through the former Golden Triangle region. Accelerated by the Chinese development of agricultural and gambling industries, life and landscape along Route 3 undergo enigmatic changes. 

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

–Two flights of stairs lead up to the building’s front entrance at 172 Classon Avenue.    
–For elevator access, please RSVP to program@e-flux.com. The building has a freight elevator which leads into the e-flux office space. Entrance to the elevator is nearest to 180 Classon Ave (a garage door). We have a ramp for the steps within the space.             
–e-flux has an ADA-compliant bathroom. There are no steps between the Screening Room and this bathroom.

Experimental Film, Video Art, Extractivism, Environment, Landscape, Community, Family, Human - Nonhuman Relations

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.

David Kelley is an artist working with photography, video, and installation. His recent projects draw attention to the effects of global capitalism, resource extraction, and shifting physical and political landscapes. Influenced by a range of visual traditions, Kelley draws upon elements of experimental documentary, ethnography, performance, and avant-garde cinema. By working at the intersection of these strategies, he encourages an understanding of his subjects that is simultaneously direct and speculative. His work has been shown in galleries and museums nationally and internationally. Recent exhibitions include the Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin, Museum of Modern Art in New York, and Fotofest Biennial, Houston. Other exhibitions include Commonwealth and Council in Los Angeles, The Bank in Shanghai, the de Cordova Biennial in Boston, BAK in Utrecht, MAAP space in Australia, and the Jim Thompson Art Center in Bangkok. He is currently based in Los Angeles, California, and is an Associate Professor of the Practice of Fine Arts at University of Southern California.

RSVP for Overburden: Patty Chang and David Kelley

Thank you for your RSVP.

will be in touch.


e-flux announcements are emailed press releases for art exhibitions from all over the world.

Agenda delivers news from galleries, art spaces, and publications, while Criticism publishes reviews of exhibitions and books.

Architecture announcements cover current architecture and design projects, symposia, exhibitions, and publications from all over the world.

Film announcements are newsletters about screenings, film festivals, and exhibitions of moving image.

Education announces academic employment opportunities, calls for applications, symposia, publications, exhibitions, and educational programs.

Sign up to receive information about events organized by e-flux at e-flux Screening Room, Bar Laika, or elsewhere.

I have read e-flux’s privacy policy and agree that e-flux may send me announcements to the email address entered above and that my data will be processed for this purpose in accordance with e-flux’s privacy policy*

Thank you for your interest in e-flux. Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.