February Artists (Kalpana Subramanian, Michael Hall, Jon Chambers)


Empyrean – Kalpana Subramanian (Buffalo, NY)

Empyrean is an abstract, meditative film that explores and celebrates the magical quality of cinematic light. This work revisits Brakhage, by studying his films as a source of light in themselves. Shot entirely on an i-phone the imagery is composed of layered images of dancing light on a projection window, captured during screening of various Brakhage’s 16mm film prints. In terms of process I was literally ‘filming’ at the altar of celluloid cinema, (kneeling at the projection booth window, i-phone in hand) intercepting the light from the projector refracting through the glass before it hit the screen. Light mediated is therefore an apt way to describe this intervention. It is also a personal comment/creative interpretation on Brakhagian aesthetics.

Kalpana Subramanian is an artist, filmmaker and researcher, currently pursuing a practice-based Ph.D. at the Department of Media, State University of New York at Buffalo. Her research explores transcultural frameworks of enquiry into the aesthetics of the moving image. Subramanian is also a children’s book author and a western classical vocalist.

Confluence (All the Nations of the Earth)– Michael Hall (Berkeley, CA)

The video depicts a paced compositing of the flags of 241 nations on the Earth joining to create one polychromatic, amalgamated flag, simultaneously representing all nations. In an age of increased isolationism, fanaticism and reactive nationalism, the abstracted design, as well as shared and opposing graphic elements of the flags, confuse and distort any simplistic national ensign and understanding. This project is targeted at blurring the boundaries of nationalism to expose the complexities of immigration and globalism and proposes a global emblem of our shared, planetary existence.

Michael Hall is an artist and educator whose work is concerned with finding empathy and complexity in situations that are often polarized and oversimplified. As an artist whose perspective was effected by his family’s military upbringing, he looks to add a more nuanced approach to necessarily critical but discordant conversations. Through painting, video and participatory works he addresses these dynamics within a larger, multifaceted cultural context: one of complicated family webs and communities, structural pedagogy, systematized aesthetics, quotidian nationalism, and the tenuous space between control and protection.

Hall received his BFA from the California College of the Arts and his MFA from Mills College. He currently lives and works in Berkeley, California. He is an Assistant Professor of Art at California State University, East Bay.

Symbiosis- Jon Chambers (Chicago,Il)

In Symbiosis, 3D scans of my body are rendered beyond their physical possibilities in surreal and nonrepresentational landscapes and spaces using data centers and nebulae as textures and shaders. Formal and perceptual relationships start to develop as we reflect on our own body’s control while interfacing and becoming enmeshed with digital realities: bodies as data are fluid, mutable, influenced and infinite. The video culminates into abstractness, where the parts become vague references of themselves and are integrated in the space.

Jon Chambers is an artist and educator based in Chicago, where he teaches media literacy, media art histories, net art, new media art (software + hardware) and video.  His work responds to experiences of saturation, obsessions and often humorous contradictions that emerge from our relationships with technology, virtuality and remoteness. He’s particularly interested in how we negotiate the duality of our digital and physical bodies within networked systems of consumerism, identity and future histories. Endearing and uncanny feelings in the work urge us to consider the streamlined technological interfaces (both hardware and software) we encounter everyday and where those interactions start to break down.