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Courtesy of PARTICIPANT Inc
PARTICIPANT INC is pleased to present "The Night Epi$ode", the first New York solo exhibition of My Barbarian. My Barbarian is a Los Angeles-based collaborative group consisting of Malik Gaines, Jade Gordon and Alexandro Segade. The trio makes site-responsive performances and video installations that use theatrical play to draw allegorical narratives out of historical dilemmas, mythical conflicts, and current political crises.
"The Night Epi$ode" is a new video installation that explores the genre of sci-fi television, linking narratives of supernatural anxiety with tales of economic collapse. Inspired by episodic TV shows from the 1950s-‘80s, particularly Rod Serling’s "The Night Gallery", Gaines, Gordon, and Segade perform in six short video episodes that approach the financial crisis through the tropes of that genre. These stories function as a means of addressing the speculative narratives and outright myths that drive public discourse.
In one video, an unemployed woman loses her insurance and begins an affair with a being from another dimension. When her husband leaves her, she plans to marry the flickering light spirit in hopes of getting on the entity's insurance plan, only to discover that they are in fact a same-sex couple and cannot be married. In another episode, a man does a dangerous yoga pose to release toxins in his body, only to be overcome with a horrifying skin disease that can only be cured by a witch doctor dressed in Obama-print African fabric. The man finally discovers the doctor’s bill is a price too high to pay.
A seventh video hosts the program: three nightmare curators trapped in a boardroom meeting find there is no exit from the aura of negativity that permeates the politics of exhibition. Modeled on Sartre's existentialist play, "No Exit", the video combines absurdist dialogue, suspenseful images found in old credit sequences, and the stylized sets of early music videos. The action is set in a theatrical space mirrored in the gallery through set pieces and dramatic lighting.
As a collective that works regularly with non-profit art institutions in an art world confronted by questions of sustainability, My Barbarian brings its own personal psychology to these uncanny images of economic dysfunction. The process for generating the work, all of which was made during the summer of 2009, was modeled after a fast form of television production, with the three members of the group writing, editing, performing, shooting, composing, costuming, and producing the project.(read less)
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