Christina Battle Support Material for IAWP Application – University of Colorado, Boulder – January 2016
Below are links to a number of recent works. Click the title of each work for more information, documentation photos and video previews. In some cases, additional video links are provided after the work’s description. Entire archive of works can be found online.
Multi-Screen Video Installation, Vinyl Text, Handmade Communication Devices (Arduino, LEDs, Morse code, + Glass Jars)
Thames Art Gallery – September 11 thru November 1, 2015
Exhibition Essay “Echoes in a Stranger Land” by Ellyn Walker (pdf)
After an environmental collapse based on recent disaster headlines, End Transmission takes place in a soon-to-be future after our own time’s intensifying inequality, debt, climate change, fossil fuel dependency and global food crisis.
Post-collapse, a woman explores a number of extreme landscapes in search of a hospitable future, leaving behind a series of Morse code communiqués as a record of her journey.
A mixed media installation, End Transmission is an expanded narrative told through multiple video loops, sound, and handmade communication devices (Arduino, LEDs, Morse code, + Glass Jars).
Taking a cue from M. Nourbese Philip’s writing on frontiers—in particular, how to work with, work against, or elide racial and cultural ones—I come to Christina Battle’s installations with sensitive eyes. In the expansive, desolate and often obscure landscapes she presents in End Transmission, “absence is deceptive and is really a presence,”* albeit a hidden one. A presence of what, exactly? Of human relations and the histories they elicit, which have included colonization, genocide, climate change, food crises, and economic and natural disaster, all of which are ongoing phenomena across vast and diverse geographies. I see these dystopic transgressions moreso as transmissions, which offer both Battle and viewers alike the occasion to think through what a more hospitable future may look like on this land, and on others. – from the exhibition essay Echoes in a Stranger Land by Ellyn Walker
* Philip, FRONTIERS: Essays and Writings on Racism and Culture (Stratford, ON: The Mercury Press, 1992).
Links to Video Previews:
https://vimeo.com/146561420 – password = news – Video preview of small video work (on monitor when you first enter the space)
https://vimeo.com/146604918 – password = message – Video preview of one of ‘the messages’ (see list below)
https://vimeo.com/146605285 – password = sand – Video preview of large scale projection (on hanging screen)
https://vimeo.com/146605993 – password = triangle – Video preview –large scale video projection (side by side on wall with sphere loop.m4v )
https://vimeo.com/146606596 – password = sphere – Video preview –large scale video projection (side by side on wall with triangle loop.m4v)
https://vimeo.com/146607208 – password = whitesands – Video preview of Large scale projection (on wall)
https://vimeo.com/117455784 – password = blizzard – Video preview of video work (monitor on wall)
https://vimeo.com/47750592 – Video preview of video work (monitor on wall)
The people in this picture are standing on all that remained of a handsome residence
Multi-projection installation + Zine
Archival photos from Edmonton’s deadly 1987 Tornado are glitched and datamoshed into repetitive abstraction. When I came across the source images manipulated in this work, all I could think about was how I remember those days and what they actually looked like. It made me think about our increasing desire to capture and disseminate images of disaster; about Disaster Porn – now a common phenomenon thanks to 24 hour repetitive news broadcasts and Instagram; about why we need to see images documenting disaster at all and why it is that we want those images to look beautiful.
From Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal’s The Post-Photographic Condition program notes – curated by Joan Fontcuberta:
[September 10th – October 10th 2015 at Le Centre des arts actuels Skol]
Jean-Luc Nancy states that since Fukushima, the natural disasters of the past have been replaced by a single ongoing civilizational catastrophe. Nowadays, disasters are immediately made into spectacles through media coverage. How, then, can we describe traumatic events without veering into sensationalism? How do we provide information without succumbing to morbid curiosity? Christina Battle has oriented her work toward subjects such as history and counter-memory, political mythology, and the iconography of catastrophes. Her video installation The people in this picture are standing on all that remained of a handsome residence (2014) evokes Black Friday in Edmonton, Alberta, on July 31, 1987, when a devastating tornado killed dozens of people and destroyed many homes. Battle downloaded eyewitness photos of the Edmonton disaster and videos of tornadoes published by news outlets on the Internet. She then altered the codes of the images to produce random crashes or glitches and “collapsed” the results into video files, once again corrupting elements in the codes to force simultaneous reproduction (datamoshing). “Mute” images consequently become “eloquent,” while fragmentation and repetitive abstraction de-spectacularize the drama. Impervious to the temptations of “disaster porn,” Battle suggests that every catastrophe sheds a certain amount of light.
we’re not exactly sure what just happened (one through four)
a series of 4 one-minute videos on 4 tv monitors
originally made for the Toronto Urban Film Festival (TUFF)
installation version: 4 Analog TV sets, Media players, plinths
On April 19, 2013 while the city of Boston was on lockdown and police searched for the then at large Boston City Bomber, CNN aired continuously despite having virtually nothing new to report. They hypothesized on what might be happening and interviewed “experts” on guesstimated facts about the case all while continually admitting they actually knew nothing about what was transpiring in the search for the lone surviving suspect.
With text from CNN’s reporting on that day, the four videos part of we’re not exactly sure what just happened offer an alternative visual backdrop for the essentially meaningless transcripts. What does it mean when media takes a step away from reporting facts and closer toward nonsense? When they become active generators of fear and paranoia as oppose to the disseminators of tangible and factual information?
Blouin Artinfo Canada online, “Video Artist Christina Battle Finds Nothing on the News at TUFF” review of we’re not exactly sure what just happened by Mark Mann, 2013
notes to self
a new, ongoing project. notes to self.
Notes to Self is an ongoing series of videos documenting a simple, repetitive act as a way to mimic our fleeting engagement with social media status updates. Fragments of text, in the form of notes to myself, are set on fire with varying degrees of success. The notes, which range from humourous reminders and revelations to recollections about larger societal events, are simple in both form and execution, allowing for a critical and considered viewing response.
∆ (when the cities burn)
HD video. 6.12mins
“Our civilization is flinging itself to pieces. Stand back from the centrifuge.”
[Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451]
[note: in this case, ∆ (opt + j) is defined as it is in chemistry: ∆ = the addition of heat in a reaction and also references the general definition in math & science: ∆ = the change of any changeable quantity]
Text based work
Hollywood Movies, Media Hype, and the Contemporary’ Survivalist Movement: An Appropriated Study (pdf)- Published in Incite Journal of Experimental Media “Blockbuster” – Issue Number Five – Fall 2014