Illuminate the Plaza Presented by PNC Arts Alive: This Won't Last
Manager of Exhibitions and Interpretation
Featuring: Lino Kino (Matthew Ober, Saskia Globig, Char O’Dair-Gadler, Maya Shengold, George MacLeod, Emilie Slater, Michael Ipsen, and Matt Lavine)
This Won’t Last consists of seven new video works by the Philadelphia-based media arts collective Lino Kino. The series questions everyday assumptions about the roles and implicit meanings of monumental art in public spaces by presenting subjects rarely memorialized—such as failure, loss, entropy, the mundane, and the unacknowledged—on a monumental scale.
Each of the seven videos is put through several rounds of video compression causing the slow decomposition of the video file. The altered video works illustrate the inevitable physical and contextual decay experienced by traditional monuments. These anti-monuments are lighter-than-air subversions of the ways in which monumental art can be in dialogue with the architecture of public spaces. Through their shifting multiplicity, the projections spark renewed considerations of collective memory.
This Won’t Last will be projected on PAFA’s Historic Landmark Building from dusk until dawn January 24 - February 21, 2022. Expanded descriptions of individual works can be found at https://linokino.com/thiswontlast/. Illuminate the Plaza is an ongoing series that supports artists working in the digital realm by highlighting their work on PAFA's Lenfest Plaza. The series is generously funded by PNC Arts Alive.
Monday: Hindenburg/Goodyear Reincarnation Cycle, Matthew Ober, 8:30
Hindenburg/Goodyear Reincarnation Cycle evaluates the history of the airship as a monument to failure. The Lakehurst Naval Air Station in New Jersey—only fifty miles from Philadelphia—was the nexus for airship development in the early twentieth century. In 1937, the German Zeppelin Hindenburg burst into flames at Lakehurst. In juxtaposing the public spectacle of the Hindenburg disaster and subsequent rise of the Goodyear blimp, Ober meditates on the process by which social value is repurposed as commercial value. “If the Hindenburg is a memorial of decay and disintegration,” notes Ober, “then the Goodyear is born from its ashes, emblemizing success, commodity, and American exceptionalism.”
Tuesday: The House of Entropy, Saskia Globig, 4:45
House of Entropy notices the small ways in which big things fall apart at the margins. A sack of grapefruit acts as a three-dimensional model for thermal molecular entropy; a taxonomy of model houses implodes over a boating house on the Schuylkill River and a gutted hotel on the Atlantic City boardwalk; plastic finds new life from greenhouses to highway maintenance sheds to a hammock at Philadelphia’s Navy Yard. The rhythm of moments throughout the footage rewards catching it out of the corner of your eye, or returning repeatedly. The piece functions as a secret Globig keeps with the viewer. Through a progression of unexpected images in conversation, Globig reinvests magic in industrial sites and affection for inanimate objects as places inhabited by human and nonhuman beings, embracing the everyday freefall of lives in transit.
Wednesday: Xanadu, Char O’Dair-Gadler & Maya Shengold, 10:00
Xanadu is a painterly exploration of the American Dream Mall as a “living dead mall.” This entertainment center and shopping mall in New Jersey’s Meadowlands has been a construction project in the works since the mid-90s. For years, the massive project hemorrhaged money and resources until finally opening amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The title refers to “Meadowlands Xanadu,” the proposed name of the mall from 2002-2010, before the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers caused the project to switch hands. Examining the mall-as-monument, Xanadu is a video collage of footage shot in and around the mall, referencing both the original renderings of the mall and videos posted online of dead and abandoned malls around the US.
Thursday: Winter Games, George MacLeod, 18:30
Winter Games provides a textual account of MacLeod’s own upbringing alongside a collage of found footage and photography that references the failed Antarctic expedition of Robert Falcon Scott (1868-1912). A stained-glass monument that venerates the captain and his crew floats through the lower frame as the doomed men trudge through ice and snow in a race to the South Pole. While MacLeod’s reminiscent text scans from right to left above the men, certain aspects of the artist’s life are revealed as a mold of social convention and gender performativity. Missed chances weave across generational and historical lines in this analytic monument to what could have been, and what could still be.
Friday: Thank You Borgata Babes, Emilie Slater, 1:40
Thank You Borgata Babes references the “Borgata Babes,” a group of servers from Borgata Casino in Atlantic City who took legal action in 2006 against their employer for subjecting them to poor and insulting working conditions. Top among their frustrations was a requirement to be weighed, sometimes daily, before starting work. After ten years of court battles, the New Jersey Supreme Court declined to review their case and left the Borgata Babes without any further opportunities for legal recourse. “As someone who has worked in many establishments where the performance of femininity was a requirement for employment,” notes Slater, “Thank You Borgata Babes applauds their efforts and is a monument to their bravery.”
Saturday: Nature’s Organ of Anticipation, Michael Ipsen, 60:00
Nature’s Organ of Anticipation is a site-specific, meditative video collage projected exclusively on the limestone portions of the Historic Landmark Building’s facade at PAFA. The work is a patchwork assemblage of 300+ videos drawn from Ipsen’s personal archive of observational videos. The work subverts its own monumental proportions by bathing the historic Furness facade with a moving collage of life’s mundane and overlooked moments. Nature’s Organ of Anticipation celebrates the insignificant time that elapses between significant events. The piece takes its name from a poetic term for the central nervous system.
Sunday: When Your Mind Is Running, Your Body Is Watching, Matt Lavine, 20:00
When Your Mind is Running, Your Body is Watching follows eight individuals droning around a 3D model of the Havre de Grace Quarry in Maryland. The quarry, an active reserve for construction aggregates, serves as a crucial environment for the characters. The enclosed outdoor complex is a natural accessory to the human models, an inorganically occurring Counter Strike map. Cameras from a mock GoPro perspective follow each character as they speak. They are inaudibly mouthing the titular phrase, "when your mind is running your body is watching."