2017 Curatorial Statement by Mike Morris
This year’s Dallas Medianale was a difficult one to program. To focus on making meaningful connections between the work of so many artists’ work is never an easy task, but to do so in the midst of so much social and political uncertainty feels simultaneously indulgent and exhausting. Nonetheless, there have been many events within the last several months that demonstrate to me that making and exhibiting art are vital endeavors, particularly those practices that deal with media and images. A week before this writing, our country attacked another purportedly based on one person’s emotional response to an image. For better or worse, images like this one have the power to record, express, and inspire real horror. Media theorist Gene Youngblood has often quoted artists Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz in saying “we must learn to create on the same scale that we can destroy.” This puts a great deal of responsibility on artists as well as audiences. The works in this year’s exhibitions will give us opportunities to respond to many images that address some of the most obviously pressing issues ahead of us, as well as some of those we might overlook. They may propose a spiritual relationship to the landscape (LaFountain), encourage us to understand borders in relation to bodies (Bemak and Granados), or make us examine how young people are inspired by their heros (Duke and Battarsby). They may show us the empty shells of our utopian dreams (Frezza) or remind us of past wars whose effects are very much still with us (Wiebe). Whether what we create by coming together to view works like these is creating at the scale we need remains to be seen. I can at least say that the works in these programs are important and inspiring, and I look forward to sharing them with you.
The second installment of the Dallas Medianale – presented by the Video Association of Dallas – will feature screenings, performances and an exhibition spanning Thursday, April 27 - Sunday, April 30. Showcasing moving image art in all its forms and introducing emerging and experimental art and artists to a wider audience.
Building on its successful first edition in 2015 that earned it the title of D Magazine’s “Best Worst Named Festival,” this year’s Medianale opens during #DallasArtsMonth on Thursday April 27th with a screening of a Documentary about the legendary film artist and composer Tony Conrad, followed by a musical tribute at the Texas Theatre. On Friday at The MAC and Ro2 Art exhibitions by artists Eve LaFountain, Sean Miller and Ian Haig will open with a special night of performances by Kristin Reeves, Limited Hangout, Karine Fleurima and Therefore. On Saturday at the Dallas Contemporary there will be five programs of new experimental film and video works by national and international artists. Sunday at the Nasher Sculpture Center the Medianale, in collaboration with the Ultraseeing, will screen a selection of films titled Synesthésie curated by Frank Dufour and featuring a film by Scott Stark. Closing out the festival on Sunday night the Medianale will host the 24th Dallas Ambient Music Nights at the MAC.