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.

Rosa Menkman makes art of a truly interactive nature by engaging her “audience” to become physical participants in completing the work. Xilitla is designed in a video game format. The viewer is transformed into a collaborator by way of a game controller to explore the malleable realms and conditions latent in the experience. However, this is not your normal role-playing game by any stretch of the imagination. Dead ends, unexpected or random consequences, and visual and auditory feedback artifacts, which were they to occur in a conventional game context would be considered negative glitches, are instead coded in and emphasized. Menkman’s work is centered in an aesthetic known as glitch art. Digital and analog errors—bugs in the system—are accepted and incorporated as intentional malfunctions. In Menkman’s work, the glitch disrupts one’s expectations and carries the user/viewer into a new moment or new momentum of understanding.

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