Scott Kiernan’s video installations, photographs and sculptures focus on the ways understood meaning becomes fluid by translation through technology, speech and syntax. Often working in real-time with analog video and live photographic processes, much of his work merges synthesized and found imagery with language games. In the past, he has made video poems for an age of verbal erosion, a computer incantation of genetic code through sign language, and large-scale paintings of pre-internet clip-art ads devoid of the products they sold. Horse Tail Falls at Safe Gallery visually deconstructs a found photograph which (only) shares the name of a Yosemite waterfall known to glow in what has been described as a fiery “gate to hell” under the correct lighting conditions. 6-channel video, Not in a Position to Say Anything ties stock phrases and lexical bundles to bodily gestures in a series of puns off the works title. Through his work, the found image or encountered phrase clamors for a new life, untethered from its former meaning and reaching a shaky hand out to the viewer to touch back through the machine.
Kiernan founded and co-directed Louis V. E.S.P, an artist-run gallery and performance space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and is the director of Various/Artists, a publishing imprint for handmade records and videotapes by artists working across diverse media. He’s exhibited and performed internationally at venues including the New Museum, Swiss Institute/Contemporary Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Harvard Art Museums, P.S.122, Ballroom Marfa, and the Center for International Contemporary Art in Rome, among others.
Victoria Keddie combines a practice in sound, moving image, and performance to explore the after-life of the broadcasted signal and its subsequent decay as ongoing electromagnetic energy. The language she embeds into her systems moves swiftly, with a dissonance and whirlpool of electronic light winding around its own inner logic. Her recent work, Object Afterlife develops a visual and auditory language for outer space debris, or “space junk”— chunks of collided satellites and rockets, flakes of floating paint— in their afterlife as they float on through Earth’s Lower Orbit. Previous works such as 54 days of blank sun in July (through the lens of Ben Riley’s snare) and then, pits solar eclipse imagery and camera zooms against the rap of a rapid snare drum while Headbanger (2015) constructs a percussive score for sleep disorders in which patients slam their heads repetitively into their pillow or headboard.
Amongst the works she will show at Safe gallery, three-channel video “Test Patterns”; is an in-studio journey through the cathode ray tube. In this work, Keddie acts as a medium between sound and image in their sensitive efforts to communicate with each other through the machinery of early television broadcast. This sensitivity to an often unexamined space between director, subject and the technologies they bind themselves to extends to two-channel work “Camera Tension”. She has performed and exhibited internationally at venues including Barbican, Fridman Gallery, Pioneer Works, Museum of Moving Image, Lightcone (Paris), Syros International Film Festival (Syros, Greece), and Reykjavik Arts Festival (Reykjavik), among others. Her artist residencies have included the Storefront for Art and Architecture, AZ Wagon Station Encampment, and Signal Culture. She is the Open Sessions Artist in Residence at The Drawing Center in New York.
Keddie and Kiernan are also frequent collaborators; both co-direct E.S.P. TV, a mobile TV studio which focuses on he performativity of televisual production through collaborations for broadcast. From this project emerged UNIT 11, a transmission-based residency program, headquartered in a former ENG van-turned-mobile electronic studio. As it travels, its instruments and projects resonate with their surrounding geographies.
Side by side at Safe gallery, these artists each represent a distinct practice committed to real-time performative process in a digitally rendered present. Their work escorts the otherworld back to our world from its new camp in the electro-ether.