Sex, DUIs and Videotape Examined at Pop Up Gallery Site/109

Hilger at Site 109
Hilger at Site 109

What more can we ask for but a good old fashion examination of SEX DUIS and VIDEOTAPE? That’s what Site/109 must have thought when they booked this show, running through this Sunday in their newly anointed LES space. Dumbo-based curator Claire Breukel was on hand at the opening reception to give me a short tour of the deceptively spacious pop up space run by social media and publicity mavens Meryl Weinsaft Cooper and Helen Allen.

The show features a variety of mediums from artists Brian McKee (featured image), Danielle Buetti, Clifton Childree, Cameron Platter (video below), Martin Murphy, Sara Rahbar, Simon Vega, Emilio Chapela Perez and Miha Strukelj. Here’s a taste of the subject matter:

The title is a nod to Director Steven Soderberg’s cult classic, Sex, Lies and Videotape (1989), which depicts a central male character filming women sharing their most intimate thoughts about their sexuality. Throughout the movie, unexpected power plays unfold and the camera becomes a tool for withholding information, strategically revealing its story to the viewer by selectively sharing its footage.

Over the past few decades, the medium of video has been responsible for the proliferation of information, shifting the power from an elite few to the masses. The accessibility of video has greatly expanded, and with it, the nature of the footage being produced. No longer reserved for the creation of movies, short films and documentaries. It has become a compulsory component of every digital camera, transforming its normative function of simply capturing snapshots of happy moments in everyday life to that of a constant watchful eye or voyeur. SEX, DUIs and VIDEOTAPE investigates the contemporary fixation with filming and distributing “real life” experiences and how that exacerbates the level of exposure in today’s society.

From the silent films of Charlie Chaplin to the more recent antics on the game show Wipe Out, self-inflicted humiliation has been a constant tool in the comedic bag of tricks; a humor device used to put audiences at ease and to enroll them in absurd activities on screen. This spectacle of humiliation is aggravated by actions of celebrities who earn more air time as “bad behavior” icons –via videos featuring them having sex, in drunken debauchery and Driving Under the Influence– than for their body of work, stirring in the onlooker a morbid curiosity and, for some, mild admiration. In this time, as we are inundated with an abundance of pixels, data and information streams, we are forced to redefine for ourselves as to what constitutes authentic moments of contemporary beauty, expected behavior and the concept of fame. Thanks to You Tube, reality TV shows and other technology, Andy Warhol’s oft-quoted saying about fame has become a widespread truth. Is everyone’s “15 minutes” the new reality?

If that wasn’t enough to entice you, check out the exclusive video from the show by Cameron Platter, as it covers (and solves!) all of our global problems and you may become oddly obsessed with it (like me). Another must see is Martin Murphy’s abstract projections of real life tragedy. Stop by this weekend, and definitely expect much more to come from Site 109.

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