Alison Nguyen / Monica Savirón at Microscope Gallery

Still from 'Dessert-Disaster' (2017) by Alison Nguyen

Still from 'Dessert-Disaster' (2017) by Alison Nguyen

Monday November 13, 7:30pm
YES: Alison Nguyen / Monica Savirón
Artists in person

Microscope presents the first 2017-18 edition of our emerging artist series YES with a screening of film and video works by Alison Nguyen and Monica Savirón. Both Brooklyn-based artists’ bodies of works include 16mm films and videos that are situated within the tradition of “found footage” or “appropriation”, terms that fall short of conveying the painstaking processes of “seeking” each of them undertakes in selecting their imagery from sources including vast archives of daily newspapers, 16mm film vaults, and the web.

Nguyen, in her most recent video “Dessert-Disaster”, draws attention to visual trends and similarities between imagery used in the advertising of dessert products and that used in the documentation of natural and artificial disasters. Through the juxtaposition of the two in split screen, she reveals the TV and cinematic inspirations for dizzying movements of chocolate and other visually striking manipulations of otherwise inert candy bars. Similarly, in “you can’t plan a perfect day sometimes it just happens”, Nguyen culls brief sequences of camera lens flare from American commercials to reflect upon their function of “visual shorthands for authenticity and spirituality used in white-dominated mass media”. Earlier works by the artist in the program – shot on Super 8mm and 16mm film – are abstractions and more formal investigations of light and color.

Savirón’s works in the program – with the exception of her first piece “To Begin With” (2012) – mostly draw from existing still photograph that is repurposed and given new life within the filmstrip. For instance, in “Broken Tongue”, which “pays homage to the diaspora of the different waves of migration” to the US, the artist rephotographed images printed in the New Year’s Days issues of The New York Times, from its first publication in 1851 until 2013. Her latest work “Answer Print” – a term used to describe a print struck to preview the image and sound of a movie before final printing – is a perpetually decaying 16mm film consisting of deteriorated copies of 9 separate movies as well as anonymous film rushes and camera tests. With its fading red hues and accumulation of other imperfections, the work despite its title is unable to “answer” the question of how it will look or sound at any of its future projections.

Nguyen and Savirón will be in attendance and available for Q&A following the screening.

More info here.