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Student Video Work: InLight Edition

Eric Millikin video still

VCUarts The Anderson is pleased to present it’s fourth reel of Student Video Work. Initiated in Fall 2019 by Curatorial Research Intern Avy Umphlet, The Anderson’s Student Video Work program provides a platform to showcase time-based media works by VCUarts students. This special edition of the call for Student Video Work is presented in conjunction with 1708 Gallery’s 13th Annual InLight Richmond exhibition.

InLight, an outdoor, light-based exhibition of artwork and installations, takes place 7–11pm, November 12–14, and 7–10pm November 15, 2020, at various sites around Richmond.

At The Anderson, a reel of Student Video Work will be projected outside the building during InLight. Reflecting a variety of time-based approaches, the short video works included in this reel address the InLight 2020 themes of Safety and Accountability.

Participating Artists

Sydney Adams (Art Foundation), Lucia Biondi (Dance), Nico Felsenheld (Sculpture), Hanyu “Jessy” Jiao (Photo + Film), Eric Millikin (Kinetic Imaging MFA), Hien Nguyen (Sculpture), and Lilly Parker (Art Foundation).

The still above is from Eric Millikin’s Premonition/Protection, which is part of the Student Video Work: InLight Edition reel.

Curatorial Statement

The curation of videos for the Anderson’s Inlight Video Call was guided by 1708 Gallery’s InLight 2020 themes of Safety and Accountability. While some videos consider actions that make one feel safe or rituals that bring comfort, others consider accountability with regards to societal and institutional structures. Accountability is also present in the inclusion of video works that represent struggles faced by a variety of Richmond community members.

Nico Felsenheld’s work False Awakening addresses the prevalence of worries related to the COVID-19 pandemic in our deepest psyche. The protagonist is ultimately unsuccessful in their attempts to feel safe through self care, reflecting the pervasiveness of anxiety regarding the pandemic and our political climate.

Lucia Biondi considers safety and accountability within societal structures as they attempt to navigate space in ImIneImIne. Biondi investigates the ways communities organize to maintain accountability and contends that “ultimately, a cultural paradigm shift to more collectivist navigations of our space is necessary if we ever hope to experience safety and accountability at the levels we desire.”

The themes of safety and accountability converge in Premonition/Protection by Eric Millikin, which directly confronts COVID-19 anxieties while also commenting on anxieties created by societal systems. Millikin utilized artificial intelligence trained on monsters, Venus flytraps, Monarch butterflies, forest fires, COVID-19-contaminated blood, and more in the creation of this video. The gargoyle-like visage references the “Thin Blue Line” sculpture at Richmond Police Headquarters as well as the giant face of Mussolini on the headquarters of the Italian Fascist Party in 1934.

Lilly Parker’s Stop The Stutter focuses on the direct interference that has caused the United States Postal Service to stutter and malfunction, reflecting the fact that the safety of people’s rights are being tampered with in the current political climate.

In Hanyu “Jessy” Jiao’s I’ve Never Had an Asian barbie, interview audio shines a light on the extremely difficult conditions under which Chinese workers manufacture Barbies, a toy representative of the Western standard of beauty. As stated by the artist, “the world of toys may be heaven for children, but it is a world of misery for toy factory workers.” 

Sydney Adams explores the internal and external tension of an anxiety attack in Trio Me (The Mind is an Abyss, Part 1), depicting an experience triggered when a lack of a sense of safety is present.

In Hien Nguyen’s piece Somewhere The Driftwood Will Land, a Southeast Asian ritual is undertaken as a means to ground them in Richmond in response to the loss of a sense of home. 

Accountability, safety, and ultimately empathy are emphasized in these videos, encouraging viewers to contemplate the systems and issues that the artists address, as well as investigate one’s own complicity and complacency within societal and institutional structures.

GALLERY INFO

Open Tuesday–Friday 12–6pm & Saturday 12–5pm

The Anderson is VCUarts’ on-campus gallery, serving the VCU community through a dynamic and constantly evolving program of student and professional exhibitions, projects, and events.  

At the Anderson, students are recognized as artists in their own right, empowered to push their artistic practices and engage with audiences as they hone their work.

For more info on The Anderson’s exhibitions and events, visit: https://arts.vcu.edu/community/the-anderson/