Popular culture has been molded by television and electronic graphic information since the mid-20th century. Whether appearing on a TV console, computer monitor, or smart device, video has become a comfortable, accessible, and preferred medium for both consumption and creation, especially to those among us under 30. Many critics today consider it to be this generation’s quintessential format for expression. Camera Lucida features eight contemporary artists from around the world who work with video and digital moving imagery. Artists Jay Bolotin, Rob Carter, Joe Hamilton, Yeon Jin Kim, LigoranoReese, Jillian Mayer, Rosa Menkman, and Rick Silva offer fresh perspectives on enduring concerns and new issues, using a technology that is widely familiar through common exposure, if not as broadly known as an independent art form. Yet video has been used as an eloquent and powerful vehicle by artists for more than 50 years, ranging from early documentary formats and narrative expositions to digital abstraction and game-playing interaction. JCSM’s survey provides a compelling look at the state of the medium today, where age-old intentions find new purpose in new applications.

This exhibition has been made possible by grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Jillian Mayer

That manner of subversive appropriation today includes pseudo infomercials and music videos, along with the slick fades and editing tricks we have come to know through contemporary mainstream television. The videos of Jillian Mayer, another artist exhibiting in Camera Lucida, hold up a virtual funhouse mirror to the deceits of popular television, cinema, and the Internet. Their humorously distorted reflections are both ludicrous and acutely on point. As if wielding the ultimate universal remote, Mayer channel hops among genres and formats as she takes on the clichéd memes, cultural affectations, lowbrow entertainment, social media confessionals, and online cons that occupy a large portion of her generation’s post-wired existence. Though masked by an aura of pop accessibility and innocence, her work raises serious questions about our spiraling immersion into a surrogate experience of the natural world.

This video contains an excerpt from I Am Your Grandma, 2011.

Courtesy of David Castillo / Borscht Corp.

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