Bushwick Open Studios: Film Festival
Curated by Microscope Gallery
By Quinn Dukes

The summer has finally crept upon us bringing along with it the delights of outdoor festivals. Artists, art enthusiasts and neighborhood locals infiltrated street corners during Brooklyn’s first neighborhood-focused event of June, Bushwick Open Studios. Over the course of three days, Bushwick Open Studios encompassed over 350 events, celebrating their fifth year as an organization. Bushwick-centric galleries, studios and bars opened their doors for music, film, performance, live silk-screening demos and much, much more. One of the many landing spots after the studio crawl was Goodbye Blue Monday. The indoor space at GBM co-hosted a Music Festival while the back area housed a Film Festival curated by Microscope Gallery, Brooklyn, NY. Although the petite screening room deterred several visitors, the line-up of emerging and established artists captivated those determined enough to land a seat. I arrived just in time to survey the “Performances Eye to Eye” segment that focused on films exploring self-interpretation and environmental limitations.

Yasue Maetake’s split screen video entitled Parthenogenesis, 2010, portrays a female figure traversing through the rhythmically morose depths of industrial spaces and potentially inferior natural environments. Occasionally Maetake departs from her split screen format, allowing thoughtful panoramic views of organic wind swells to extend across the screen. Who will triumph during this quiet battle? Per Maetake’s title selection, perhaps a mutation of nature, humanity and technology prevail.

Erik Moskowitz and Amanda Trager pose as the primary characters within their slow motion, monotone musical entitled Cloud Cuckoo Land, 2008.  Inspired by a residency in Montalvo, Moskowitz and Trager filled the set with photographic scrims that mimicked their communal residency space. The viewer is immediately exposed to multiple realities and challenged to distinguish themselves from the puppet and the puppet master. The female lead steps through a series of emotional parameters while wandering through her shared living space thus encountering strangers, party goers and even Joan Jonas. Cinematic complexity merged with philosophical and conceptual banter keep Cloud Cuckoo Land an attentive viewing throughout its entire 17-minute duration.

Genevieve White’s performance documentation of Cross Belt, 2011 was screened shortly after a few DVD player malfunctions. Cross Belt was originally performed within the 24 inch by 24½inch confines of the Engineer’s Office Gallery, NYC. White’s actions are fairly simple. She undresses to reveal a nude-colored leotard, applies the sign of the cross with 3 tubes of lipstick to her body and binds herself with a collection of belts. White attempts to shimmy out of the imposed bondage but quickly resorts to unlatching her confinement. Shortly after Cross Belt concluded, White performed a new piece entitled Water Balloons, 2011. White undressed from business casual attire into a low cut, white t-shirt adorned with several multi-colored water balloons and Daisy Dukes cut-offs. Viewers were encouraged to burst the water balloons thus simulating a wet t-shirt contest. While the water bursting action initiated several giggles, the performance also revealed the historical tenets of female objectification and unfortunate traditional ideologies present within our culture. Thus turning the “Eye” away from the performer and towards those who gaze.

You can check out monthly, multi-media exhibitions at Microscope Gallery located at 4 Charles Place, Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY 11221. Hours Thursday-Monday, 1-6pm.

All images are courtesy of Microscope Gallery.

Yaseu Maetake “Parthenogenesis” video, col, sound, 9 mins, 2010

Amanda Trager & Erik Moskowitz “Cloud Cuckoo Land” video, col, sound, 17 mins, 2008

Genevieve White “Cross Belt” video, col, sound, 13:30 mins, 2011

Quinn Dukes is a multimedia performance artist and writer based in Brooklyn, New York.