Other Projects: 2006 - 2013
Field Station #1
HD Video with 3D Animation // 03:48 (looped) // 2013
Field Station #1 is the first of a series of virtual “installations” that I view as modified tactical landscapes—an essence, or idea of some sort of virtual militarized space. These 3D environments are plastered with changing video textures that both reference the inherent structure of the internet (with a nod to Frank Stella via the “browser”) and pull from game culture (in this case gaming through my own version of Guantanamo Bay—my Sims endure a hunger strike in isolated bunkers in the middle of the suburbs).This piece is designed to be seamlessly looped on a monitor or projection screen.
Material Failure: Modernist Shelter Unit
Functioning as a framework for a bunker or shelter to-be, Material Failure: Modernist Shelter Unit is extremely fragile and its attempt to exist as a reinforcement structure is pathetic and in crisis. Constructed of hand-built and assembled ceramic “re-bar”—its failed attempt at establishing a high Modernist grid becomes evident in both the idiosyncrasies of the hand and in material failure.
This series of work extends across a variety of platforms including sculpture, video and drawing. The work centers around the object Bunker, a ramshackle set/performance space constructed of hand-made bricks made of drywall and masking tape. The Bunker becomes site for exploring intense and/or spontaneous psychological acts of control (or the illusion of control) within the larger confines of the studio. Performances within the Bunker are videotaped via a ceiling camera, processed, and manipulated in the four channel video installation Bunker Actions. Additionally some of this material is later incorporated into a later work Administrative Maximum: Towards the End of the Broadcast [2011-2012]. Drawings also serve as an important reference point working back and forth between the hand in the studio and the actions in the Bunker, finding points of intersection in the manipulation of the footage, the incorporation of additional footage and the manipulation of the body.
Bunker // Drywall, Masking Tape // 96" X 66" X 72" // 2010
Four Channel Video Installation // dimensions variable // 2010
Bunker Actions incorporates footage from studio performances in the Bunker that explores psychological control, the establishment/breakdown of the boundaries of the body, and the implied mortality of the image. Drawn boundaries within the confines of the bunker space and the body of the performer become sites of intense concentration and erasure. A performance illuminated and perpetuated via a photo-strobe bears resemblance to the ricochet of a machine gun—the image only perceptible by the violence of the mechanism. Voids emerge within the boundaries on the body and in the space, becoming portals between the corporeality of the performance image and the endless abyss of video black.
Union Labor Systematic Overload
5 Channel Video Installation // Dimensions Variable
Union Labor Systematic Overload is the culmination of a collaborative effort between Benjamin Rosenthal and Paul Taylor. Exploring areas of intersection between labor and futility, collaboration and competition, and performance and anxiety—the piece centers around the planning and construction of a useless water-delivery system. Performed spontaneously without prior scripting , the event collapses into an increasingly chaotic episode where collaboration becomes violent competition—utilitarian roles exchanged for sheer futile energy. Loosely based around actions in the performance (passing, planning, patching, construction, etc.), each channel experiences moments of building and decay. Performed and exhibited out of synchronization, relationships are established between the channels that are systematically overturned when juxtaposed against another channel.
Loops & Bonds
2009-2010 // 7 Minutes // 3 Channel Video
Loops & Bonds investigates the tension between the spontaneity and subliminal violence of the open-mic scenario and the fraternity, through the juxtaposition of immersive and chaotic images and sound against the austerity of menacing and suggestive performative actions. Evolving out of an exploration of metered utterance, rhythms collapse into frenzied and amorphous experiences—interrupted by the abrupt exposition of production and artifice. Functioning as an agent of connectivity and suture, the lasso and the rope transform to reveal the sinister psychological underpinnings of the event.
DIAGRAM: Exploding Body Detonates the Mind
2006 // 5 Minutes // 16mm film transferred to SD Video (three channel, looped)
DIAGRAM: Exploding Body Detonates the Mind began as an investigation of a set of directions accompanying surplus football teaching films of the 1970’s. The films were used as teaching tools for the University of Pittsburgh and Penn State football teams, and incorporated intense descriptive directions and interpretations of different strategies within the game.
DIAGRAM: Exploding Body Detonates the Mind is based around the performance of these directions by the artist. Evolving from a rather confused sense of strategic analysis, to a maniacal and panicked performed-violent state—Benjamin Rosenthal investigates the development of his personal violence and mania through the critical lens of football. Using surround sound technology, and three channels, the installation produces a sense of motion and acoustic space that corresponds physically with the performance on-screen. Actions become tangibly related to each other—penetrating, piercing, and rupturing the screens that divide them. The collapse of strategy and precision in the dialogue of the film occurs in cycles throughout the duration of the installation, and as such creates a space where these moments of transcendent psychological mania can evolve simultaneously alongside moments of meticulous order.