Film@JCSM: The Artists of Camera Lucida

On Thursday, September 8th, Jillian Mayer will be participating in the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art’s first video art exhibition, Camera Lucida. Her work is in the form of common viral YouTube videos which often have “click-bait” titles. Mayer pokes fun at some of the most common popular videos that become viral but are virtually meaningless. Her video with the most provocative title, “Hot Beach Babe Aims to Please” features a woman in a bathing suit walking out of the ocean while surrounded by computer mouse arrows. Mayer turns the common theme of these videos on their head and uses the arrows to show how everyone judges and stares at the woman in the short. In her video “MakeUp Tutorial HOW TO HIDE FROM CAMERAS”, she mimics the many viral how-to makeup videos on YouTube but with a twist. She advises her viewers on how to do their makeup in order to be unrecognizable by cameras, computers, and robots while walking around the city. Mayer uses common phrases generally found in make-up videos and repeats that her viewers need to make sure they are “breaking up that [the forehead] region.” Mayer’s most watched video features her in an eclectic range of costumes as she confronts her own future demise as well as what her future grandchild will think of her. “I AM Your Grandma” has over three million views on YouTube. All of her videos seek to turn a lens onto the culture of mainstream society and make it question the perspective from which is views the world.

This video contains and excerpt from the artist’s work, I AM Your Grandma

Mayer has presented her work at galleries and museums internationally such as MoMA, MoCA:NoMi, BAM, Bass Museum, the Contemporary Museum of Montreal with the Montreal Biennial (2014) and film festivals such as Sundance, SXSW, and the New York Film Festival. Mayer’s recent awards include the Creative Capital Fellowship for 2015 as well as the South Florida Cultural Consortium’s Visual/Media Artists Fellowship in 2011 and in 2014. The respondent to Jillian Mayer at this event is Hollie Lavenstein, an associate professor in the department of Communication and Journalism at Auburn University. Lavenstein says of Mayer’s work that it is “accessible, playful, yet cerebral all at once. Her visit is a terrific opportunity for Auburn to talk with an internationally-acclaimed artist who works seamlessly across multiple platforms.”

Written by Leslie Rewis, a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the English Department at Auburn University.

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