John Zieman: WEAPONIZED BEAUTY: 1979 – 2012


Reception: Thursday, November 29, 6 – 8pm

White Box is pleased to present WEAPONIZED BEAUTY: 1979 – 2012, an exhibition showcasing selected video artworks by John Zieman, spanning three decades of the artist’s career. Featured videos include WEAPONIZED BEAUTY (2012), MEDIATION (1979) and PORTRAIT OF A STATE OF MIND (1984).
“The media have substituted themselves for the older world. Even if we should wish to recover that older world we can do it only by an intensive study of the ways in which the media have swallowed it.”
—Marshall McLuhan
Technology and Art are intertwined to form the concept of Media. The adaptation of new processes of relation, observation and expression lead to experimentation resulting in new conceptualization and formulations. These processes in themselves become an art form defined by technology and referencing the human condition.

MEDIATION, 1979, SD Color with original score, 32 min 21 sec
Today’s society is in many ways defined by the process of sharing and retrieving information due to technological advancements. This immediate collecting, absorbing and transmitting of information leads to an overabundance of visual and auditory stimuli. Informational over-consumption can lead to a psychosis, which causes a person’s inability to form a coherent perception of the surrounding space. MEDIATION is an exploratory video installation that portrays the over- utilization of information via synergetic redundancy embedded into technological processes.
Conceived in the late seventies, MEDIATION was far ahead of its time. It features a revolutionary system of content creation: a primitive system of visual delay by using two open reel tape players with only a single tape. This system allows the mixing of delayed footage reiterated into the realtime scene, iteratively, building up toward white, analogous to the way microphone feedback builds toward screeching, full loudness. A bank of unique high-frequency signal generators were employed to create the soundtrack. The process of content creation became a conceptual statement in itself that examined the relationship between evolution and progress.

WEAPONIZED BEAUTY, 2012, 3-channel HD video with original score, 5 min 25 sec
In this piece, “modern” self becomes sterilized with what can be considered a ‘content injection’ system. In other words, the Internet, TV, magazines, news, etc. become a consumer-friendly synthetic altered state replacement. Innovative captivating visuals supplant traditional riot gear and the beauty in itself becomes a weapon of our obedient societies. WEAPONIZED BEAUTY employs multi-projection system to create an immersive environment that dissects observed stimuli. By changing the priorities within a field of the observed space, viewer is allowed open interpretation of visual cues as unified open system.

VideoBox: PORTRAIT OF A STATE OF MIND, 1984, SD color video with original score, 4 min 54 sec
Popular culture plays a pivotal role in the formation of observatory investigation into surrounding space. By placating individual desires with a false sense of prosperity, it creates a perfect consumer-driven consciousness. The need for consumption therefore becomes the perfect guardian of a system where the need for individual rebellion is replaced by the docile compliance of the roles assigned by societal conditioning. PORTRAIT OF THE STATE OF MIND features a subtly subversive five-measure musical phrase throughout. The bleak imagery of industrial landscapes becomes a reflection of the mathematical function in calculus, ∆T, (the rate of change), which is presented as itself accelerating, in a private and global arenas.
– Igor Molochevski