The Old Pretender

The Old Pretender, 2016

Compressing various historic timelines that range from factual events to fictitious stories, this new video project toys with the idea of utopia, the sublime wilderness, and how we are programed to see, understand, and represent the world.

From Shakespearean references of antagonistic yet beautiful nature to the pixelated world of the video game as a revitalized landscape of impressionism, this video remixes a vast array of ideological approaches to comprehending our surroundings.

Throughout the video are cut scenes to black and white focus charts. Typically these patterns are used as tools that better enable a viewer to see, yet are never supposed to really be seen. Throughout the video these stark, graphic charts punctuate the hyper-stylized, ever-shifting video imagery, and provide a backdrop for the spoken-word narration to address the audience as if it were a theatrical Greek Chorus.

This narration was composed by editing and remixing various texts from the painter Paul Cezanne and poet Rainer Maria Rilke, two artists who pushed the boundaries of human-kinds ability to see and understand space.

The video is coupled with abstracted, non-verbal audio, a form of deconstructed music that simultaneously syncs up with the imagery while competing against it. Asserting itself rebelliously against the larger narrative, this auditory landscape harkens back to occurrences in 18th century Scotland or Pre-Abolition era Southern USA where music was both exalted and feared for its inherent ability to spread through vast physical spaces while evoking visceral emotional responses.

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