Press Release July 28, 2009
VENERATIONS (Applause 1) by: caraballo-farman
A Multi-channel video installation using DVD players, projectors, portable DVD players, televisions, and plexi-see thru mirrors.
August 13th- September 5th 2009 in the Project Room for New Media, Ground Floor of the Chelsea Art Museum
Culled from hundreds of hours of talk shows, late shows, reality shows, celebrity shows, award shows, life-style shows, game shows, and shows about shows, this installation takes TV applause to its logical end: no object or context, just the pure build up and downswing of collective clapping and hooting, an on-going show made up only of the audience. The New Media Project Room is filled with applause, reflected, refracted, repeated, in sound and video. The audience is the performer.
Inciting applause has long been part of the manipulation, or perhaps the making, of an audience. Today’s American TV culture presents applause at its most ritualized, culturally-prevalent and prescriptive mode. ‘Live studio audience’ is an American cultural category, with personnel and staff dedicated to their guidance, to tell them what to do, when to clap, to wave frantically in the front and stir them up over something or other.
The object of applause doesn’t matter as much as the ritual itself, as the self-satisfying burst of euphoria, the self-referential appeal to fame, melting the obsessions of celebration and celebrity into one form, regimented, quasi-pavlovian waves of approval after approval reinforcing the image of participation and unity, confirming beyond words the validity and vitality of a group to itself.
A good newspaper, Arthur Miller once said, is the nation talking to itself. We might say that today’s television shows have the nation clapping for itself – all day, every day. Applause is a collective act, infectious, feeding on itself, an audience performing for itself, performing itself.
caraballo-farman is a two person team currently based in NY. Working in a wide range of settings, from stadiums to hotel rooms, their work explores the relationship between individuals and groups, unit and structure, and how one enables or dissolves the other, setting up a tension between being in particular and social being.
They have exhibited nationally and internationally, in such venues and events as the Havana Biennial, the Tate Modern, PS1, LAXART’s billboard project, Artists Space and the Chelsea Art Museum’s current show Iran Inside Out.
The Project Room for New Media and Performing Arts (www.theprojectroom.org), was initiated in 2003 by Nina Colosi at Chelsea Art Museum in New York City. It is an incubator of new ideas, showcasing groundbreaking concepts in all art mediums, and the intersection of the arts through technology. Over 350 international emerging and established artists have been presented in exhibitions, performing arts, symposiums, meet-the-artist programs, workshops, and resident new music ensembles. Innovative public art projects and funding models for the arts are being developed.