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Film, High Concepts, Video, Visual Arts

“Did You Know Nicole Kidman Acts in Her Own Work?”

Casey Smallwood reflects on her latest project as an HCL-sponsored artist:

As part of my research during my residency at HCL, I organized an exhibition featuring works by Danielle Paz, Danny Volk, Marilyn Volkman and myself.  As a group of peers, we are in constant dialogue with each other and our works.  These transactions of ideas, criticism, advice, and viewership infiltrate our work from time to time, creating hybrids of my work, her work, his work, etc; mimicking the history of cinema and the occurrence of the meta moment.

The following is an edited transcription of a conversation the four of us had in the planning stages regarding the title of the exhibition on September 4, 2011. It became a record of our thoughts
behind our choice to title the show Did You Know Nicole Kidman Acts in Her Own Work?, offering insight into the relationship we have with each other, the materials we use in our work and the history behind the making of these and all works before.

All of this moment is housed in twelve inches of me.
I can’t change the way the time happened.
These things aren’t fragile. Photography tells us to protect these things, video tells us that we can do them over and over again. It’s a history of cinema, but then it’s a history of the interaction through cinema.

This is common language at this point. We are not
presenting anything new. We are specific in the way it affects us.

Downplay the trauma. Qualify emotions. Like, there’s no universal element in trauma.

Trauma is a stereotype.

“Did you know Nicole Kidman acts in her own work?”
It’s an obvious question that has something under it.
A beautiful obviousness. You don’t quite know yet.
The expectation of hearing that- is that it’s something else.

It’s earnest. It’s indisputable.

The statement, in general, speaks to ownership, which is this other thing in video and film- for people that make it- that act in it, and all of these components of the making of it.

There’s this thing we do in popular viewership-

“No, this is Nicole Kidman’s film.”

Because she’s the protagonist, the narrative surrounds her.
It became hers. It becomes a conversation about who owns this film.
Who owns this piece?
Do I own Basic Instinct? Do you own the clips you are taking?

Constant configurations of two. Three is complicated. Four is equal. Triangle? Rectangle. Diagonal. There are no diagonals in a triangle. You hit a wall.


About highconceptlabs

High Concept Laboratories is an arts service organization dedicated to supporting working artists and engaging the Chicago community with arts and culture. Website: highconceptlaboratories.org


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This blog is a source for our associated artists and audiences to share the experience of the creative process. Here you will find news, pictures, and video's of the new work created at HCL.

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