November 20 – December 23, 2008

WPA and The Phillips Collection Present:
Experimental Media Series
When Absence Becomes Presence
curated by Niels Van Tomme + Sonja Simonyi
Opening Reception: Thursday, November 20, 7-9pm @WPA
Screening Event and Curator's Discussion: Thursday, Dec. 11, 6pm @
The Phillips Collection, 1600 21st Street NW

Herman Asselberghs, Futur Antérieur, image copyright Jonathan Gröger
Washington Project for the Arts is pleased to announce the launch of the fourth annual Experimental Media Series: "When Absence Becomes Presence," an exhibition that explores the play between two separate, but linked conditions of absence and presence, and which reflects upon the very nature of time based media. Curators Sonja Simonyi + Niels Van Tomme have selected a staggering variety of experimental artworks that include sound art, music, literary readings, video art, as well as a mysterious sound recording.

Artworks from: Herman Asselberghs, The Conet Project, Paul Chan, Martin Creed, Andrea Geyer, Ibro Hasanovic, Miranda July, Damir Niksic, and Douglas Ross

Curators will hold a screening of selected works with a discussion at The Phillips Collection on Friday, December 11, at 6pm. Guests are invited to the WPA exhibition space to view the works at 5pm before the screening event at 6pm. Visitors will be directed to The Phillips Collection, which is just around the corner from the WPA.

Martijn Hendriks

Mark Cooley

Brass Art
Richard Chartier
Mark Cooley
Martijn Hendriks
Minou Norouzi

During the screening, the Kraft Prize for New Media and the WPA Experimental Art Prize will be presented to two winning artists from the WABP Call for Entries competition. (See descriptions of the works below)

Sonja Simonyi is a film researcher, currently pursuing a PhD in Cinema Studies at NYU. Previously, she has worked at the National Gallery of Art’s film department where she organized the film series Modernity and Tradition: Film in Interwar Central Europe, which traveled to the Guggenheim Museum in New York, among other venues.

Niels Van Tomme is a curator and researcher. His exhibitions and screenings are shown internationally and investigate the sociopolitical aspects of contemporary audio-visual culture. Since fall 2007, he is the Curator and Director of Arts and Media at Provisions Library in Washington, DC

See a complete list of works below:

Futur Antérieur (a.k.a. Disciples of the Heinous Path - Part 1: The Pain of Everyone)

Herman Asselberghs, BE, 2007, video, 00:15:00
The video consists of 15 minutes of sheer blackness filled with nearly intolerable noise and an occasional twinkle of flickering light. Nothing points to anything, there are no
signs of meaning in any way, until...

Counting Control
The Conet Project/Akin Fernandez, UK, 2001, audio, 00:02:01
A mysterious and seemingly nonsensical transmission of unknown origin, this shortwave number station recording is believed to having been used for secret government communication.

‘The thing’ by Martin Heidegger (1950)
Paul Chan, US, 2006, audio, 00:51:01
From ‘My Own Private Alexandria’, Paul Chan’s over 16 hours of readings of essays. Heidegger’s ‘The Thing’ deals with art, duration, time, integrity, sculpture as thing and nothing, container, void.

Giving Peace a Chance (2008)
Mark Cooley, US, audio, 00:30:00
Mark Cooley manipulates an iconic song in a surprising and reflective way.

Words (Work No. 332)
Martin Creed, UK, 2004, audio, 00:01:05
Martin Creed conceives his songs as art. With a nonchalant easiness, these catchy pop songs guide to the presence of nothing, to the unlimited possibilities of nothing.

Stand here at the edge
Andrea Geyer, DE, 2006, video, 00:03:00
The video juxtaposes documentary images of people dancing and superimposed text. It tries to construct an epistemological break, by simply suggesting to close ones eyes and to challenge the “knowledge” that so often comes with our gaze.

the name of the film is... i cannot remember the name of the film
Ibro Hasanovic, BA, 2008, video, 00:15:00
Hasanovic asked the characters in his video to tell him a story, to describe a scene or a character from a film they have seen but cannot remember the title of.

The Birds Without the Birds
Martijn Hendricks, UK, 2008, video, 00:03:27
Hendricks creates a contradictory film experience by erasing a prime element from footage of Alfred Hitchkock's most well-known film.

The Sister
Miranda July, US, 2007, audio
From the audio book ‘No One Belongs Here More Than You’. In ‘The Sister’, an old bachelor is fixed up by fellow factory worker Victor. Victor's sister Blanca is always just out of sight, misses dates, becomes the stuff of mythology through her absence.

The Immigrant Song
Damir Niksic, BA, 2008, video, 00:10:30
This is a song about freedom and the im/possibility of personal choice. It is also a song about this particular video being exhibited in the gallery space.

Douglas Ross, US, 2008, video, 00:03:53
A super-8mm film is seen and heard on video. The sound of the projector is audible in both a flowing ease and sometimes a chaotic skipping of film frames. Small bits of pulsing light emerge from black in this visually indistinct, vague film image…