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Featured Banner Artists: tectonic industries

access+ENGAGE Issue 32.1: Women Behind the Camera
mnartists.org online e-mag       August 2008

Banner artwork: Still from the sixteen-monitor video installation, The Desire to Stay Versus the Inevitability of Change, recently on exhibit at Franklin Art Works, produced by tectonic industries in conjunction with the cinematographer Evan Drolet Cook.

Sixteen participants were allocated a role from Alfred Hitchcock’s film, The Birds. Each was filmed isolated in their own home, watching the film in silence. When their allocated character had a speaking part, the participant read the line aloud from the subtitles on screen. In the gallery space, the video footage was played on monitors, ordered chronologically by speaking part. The film is recreated for the audience without any visual cues, special effects or sound effects. Without knowing the narrative or the order of the speaking parts, the viewer must actively attempt to follow a dialogue across sixteen monitors, without being able to anticipate where the next voice may come from.

(Installation photo below by Rik Sferra) The still and photos included here were cropped and reprinted for access+ENGAGE with the artists’ permission)

About the artists: tectonic industries is a collaborative art partnership of the Danish artist Lars Boye Jerlach and the British artist Helen Stringfellow. The members met in Edinburgh College of Art whilst both pursuing MFA’s in Sculpture. Recognising overlaps in ideals and approaches to artmaking, they began collaborating in 1999. They moved away from Europe in 2001, and are currently based in St Paul, USA.

The duo is currently working on a couple of video installations for upcoming exhibitions: one for Pay Attention: Greater Minneapolis 08, a group show upcoming this fall at the Soap Factory; and another for an exhibition at the College of Visual Arts in the coming months. The two also created a video installation, The longer I sit the less inclined I am to stand up, which explores our constant quest for self improvement and the celebrity cult of the chef via the filming of actual people cooking in real-time to the instruction provided by an episode of 30-Minute Meals with Rachael Ray. This work was originally exhibited in 2006 as part of the Third Floor Emerging Artist Series at the Rochester Art Center, Rochester, Minnesota; they will be sending the video work to NYU for a symposium on food this September. You can keep track of these artists’ projects by visiting either their website or their mnartists.org pages.

About their work, the artists write: “tectonic industries examine the artifice inherent within the creation of the modern myths and belief systems of popular culture. Ultimately these created worlds become a pervasive form of reality, universally meaningful within the mainstream collective memory. At the heart of the investigation lies a fascination with visual, literal, televisual and cinematic pop culture that centers on appearances and narrative. Borrowed language is distorted, manipulated and morphed to heighten the artificial. Referencing immediately identifiable cultural signifiers in conjunction with our seemingly endless quest for self-improvement, tectonic industries create mixed-media installations that scrutinize our all-encompassing desire for instant gratification and immediate satisfaction.”

Credit: Photos appear courtesy of the artists of tectonic industries

[Click here to view access + ENGAGE Issue 32.1]

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