Brittany M. Watkins, aaand…ummmm

Airing September 1-October 31, 2019

As creative devices, humor and play have the power to both soothe and subvert. When juxtaposed with serious themes in art, humor and play may create cognitive dissonance in the viewer where, amidst their internal conflict, viewers can often laugh at their own discomfort. Henri Bergson noted in “Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic,” there is an “…absence of feeling which usually accompanies laughter.” This absence creates a space for viewers to unpack the deeper conceptual underpinnings of the work.

Curated by Carrie Fonder Funny:Looking features the work of artists who use humor or play based in language, aesthetics, or both, as they delve into weighty topics of family, achievement, love, loss, dysfunction, pain, and power.



Tommy Becker
Song for the Pain-Body, 2014, 04:40

The term pain-body was coined by philosopher and author, Eckhart Tolle. The Pain-body is the collective manifestation of all the pain, misery, and sorrow a person has ever experience in their life.

Ashley Teamer
Formationimation, 2016, 01:35

Teamer’s work is a manifestation of black female liberation. She transforms WNBA players into super heroes searching abstract space for a new home that recognizes their greatness, skill, and perseverance.

Brittany M. Watkins
aaand…ummmm, 2015, 9:42
Media: Video-performance, audio composition, unfired earthenware, and mixed media

These improvised monologues or conversations with the camera explore the dichotomy between internal experience and external presentation. A woman comes to terms with the disintegration of her face alongside a stranger seeking human connection through staged sexual encounters. aannnd…ummmm occurs when language and logic have failed: that which exists in the ‘spaces between’. This indication, or semblance of colloquial speech, highlights seemingly unimportant words or feelings as they point to the human condition. These faux internet confessionals align the space within the screen to the psychological state of the individual.

Marta Rodriguez Maleck
The Things My Mom Doesn’t Want to Talk About, 2017, 2:31

In this interview Marta’s mother is asked to discuss her family member’s queer identity. Rather than coming across as supportive, her lack of understanding and discomfort in the subject matter are heard in each sigh, even though she didn’t mean it like that… She blows into a large vinyl bubble every time she comes to an awkward moment. In certain shots you see it so expanded that it feels like the metaphorical elephant in the room.

Marta’s vimeo

Carrie Fonder
OUH HUO, 2017, 04:47

OUH HUO is a video of a TED talk by Hans Ulrich Obrist (HUO) re-contextualized and re-performed based on its (inaccurate) Youtube subtitles. The piece creates a parody of the use of TED to share ideas, while examining the opacity of art speak, made even denser through the misinterpretation in subtitles.

Christy Chan
As Seen on TV, 2014, 2:53

Chan imbues the menacing quality of the Ku Klux Klan’s white robe with humor and linguistic play in her video As Seen on TV (2014). Though the KKK currently defines themselves as a non-violent Christian organization dedicated to “protecting” white America, historically they terrorized people with evening rampages and were colloquially referred to as “Night Riders.” Knight Rider was also an ‘80s television show from Chan’s youth, starring Michael Knight as a vigilante action hero. In Chan’s video, she replaces Michael Knight with a hooded Klansman who speeds down the road in his high tech talking car “K.I.T.T.,” leaps and runs about, and celebrates his victories with a champagne toast and a lovely lady. Chan humorously creates a parallel between the surface presentation of the KKK as a vigilante group and the popular television show, identifying the underlying menace, call to justice, and absurdity in each.

Eric Simmons
ne + ultra, 2016, 00:45

ne + ultra is a science fiction Tinder date Skyped between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Marina Abramovic.

Eric’s vimeo

Ashley Teamer
Lick Over Here, 2016, 01:10

Zach Hill
Feelers, 2017, 11:11

Feelers is primordial tale of companionship that unfolds as a love triangle develops between three cyclopes; a sculptor, a singer, and a musician. One by one they encounter each other in the untouched wilds of a newly formed planet. First as a duo then a trio, they communicate and share through their various artistic abilities. Traversing time and space, Feelers incorporates video and installation to explore the instinctual need for intimacy and the inevitable shift of desire.

Marta Rodriguez Maleck
Nothing Else Takes Place First, 2016, 4:21

Nothing Else Takes Place First is an inquiry about identity within the context of family. Over the course of 3 years, Marta Rodriguez Maleck collected voicemails left by her mother’s relatives. These recordings are experienced in tandem with self directed clips of these family members.

Marta’s vimeo

Peder & Hendrik
Enter Work Force, 2018, 3:31

This project is a psychosexual romp through interior and exterior worlds using domestic, industrial, and clinical materials. The improvisational actions within this work are mediated by the camera and augmented by the associative potential of post-production. Operating primarily on chance, blunder, risk, and play, this project relates to the fluidity of the self and its sensual modes of existence. By sharing costumes and trading places, we dismantle any fixed notion of being, taking on a number of characters along the way. In the film, these characters exist in unfixed/nonlinear time and dig in—sometimes joyously, sometimes tentatively—to a buffet of sensual pleasures.

Stephanie Patton
Raindrops, 2019, 03:31

Embracing humor with a combination of desperation and self-imposed optimism, Raindrops touches on issues of aging, sustainability and perseverance.

Artwork and vocals: Stephanie Patton
Editor: Dave Greber
Camera: Laura Kina

Stephanie’s vimeo

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