Liz Magic Laser
The Thought Leader
January 10 - February 21, 2015


ARTIST PAGE

 

VSF is pleased to present the premiere of two new video works by Liz Magic Laser: The Thought Leader (2015) and My Mind is My Own (2015). Each video will be installed alongside related props and sculptures. This is her second solo exhibition with the gallery.

 

For The Thought Leader, Laser used the format of the increasingly popular TED Talk. She directed 10-year-old actor, Alex Ammerman, to deliver a monologue she adapted from Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Notes from the Underground (1864). TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a global series of motivational speeches with the mission to promote “the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world.” TED Talks, primarily viewed as online videos, have promoted a forceful and inspirational presentation style across a wide spectrum of professions. Speakers typically propose idealistic solutions to contemporary issues but have often been criticized for failing to offer tangible steps for achieving their utopian visions. Laser insinuates the Underground Man’s views into the TED Talk format: she applies Dostoevsky’s attack on the socialist ideal of enlightened self-interest to its contemporary capitalist incarnation.

 

Laser enlisted speech coach Kristian Nammack to craft Ammerman’s lecture style in The Thought Leader. In the companion piece, My Mind is My Own, Laser asked professional vocal coach, Kate Wilson, to teach her own daughter, eleven-year-old actor Ella Maré, to perform the role of a trainer in an instructional video. Laser worked with the mother-daughter duo to develop sinister versions of their vocal exercises.

 

In addition to prop elements created for the videos, there are two sculptures on view. These mirrored glass works incorporate Laser’s versions of diagrams from a 19th Century manual by François Delsarte on how to deliver a powerful speech. These ideas on the art of oratory have developed into common strategies governing the delivery of TED Talks.

 

The sound piece, “Hi there!” (2015), made in collaboration with artist Rachel Mason, hails gallery visitors in the entryway corridor with mantras derived from the texts of The Thought Leader and My Mind is My Own.

 

Liz Magic Laser
The Thought Leader, 2015
Single-channel video, 9:22 min

With actor Alex Ammerman
Script written by Liz Magic Laser based on Notes From the Underground (1864) by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Speech coach: Kristian Nammack
Directors of Photography: Chris Heinrich and Tom Richmond
Audio Engineer: Nikola Chapelle
Sound Editor: Scott Benzel
Sound Effects Editor: Molly Fitzjarrald
Production Manager: Anna Riley
Production Assistants: Esther Hayes, Jasmine Kyoko, and Samantha Rosner
Filmed at Kickstarter in Brooklyn, NY
Participating actors: Kelela Blake, Carolyn Blair, Tyler Booker, Travis Branch, John Carey, Virginia
Ferrer, Sein Gay, Ryan Healey, Joseph Henry, Minki Hong, Taylor Jowell, Pedro Lee, Kelvin Lofton,
Rebekah Loy, Roberto Mugnai, Job Piston, James Pyecka, Mike Quinn, Khalid Rivera, Alexis Rosenbaum,
Malaika Said, Stephanie Samford, Noriko Sato, Isaiah Seward, Mariana Silva, CharliiTV, Alex
Xenos, Daria Za, and Liz Zito
Special thanks to Kate Wilson, Ella Maré, Sanya Kantarovsky, Anna Riley, Esther Kim Varet, Joseph
Varet, Ken Laser, Wendy Osserman, Hong-An Truong, Chadwick Rantanen and Tomasz Werner
Produced with support from Various Small Fires Gallery, Los Angeles

 

Liz Magic Laser
My Mind is My Own, 2015
Single-channel video, 8:05 min

With actor Ella Maré
Script written by Liz Magic Laser in collaboration with Kate Wilson and Ella Maré
Vocal coach: Kate Wilson
Directors of Photography: Chris Heinrich and Tom Richmond
Audio Engineer: Nikola Chapelle
Sound Editor: Scott Benzel
Production Manager: Anna Riley
Production Assistant: Esther Hayes
Participating actors: Travis Branch, Virginia Ferrer, Clara Pagone, Noriko Sato, James Pyecka, Mike
Quinn, Khalid Rivera, Isaiah Seward, MaryAnn Siwek, Stephanie Sanford, CharliiTV and Alex Xenos
Produced with support from Various Small Fires Gallery, Los Angeles

 

Liz Magic Laser (b. 1981, New York) earned a BA from Wesleyan University (2003) and an MFA from Columbia University (2008). She attended the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture (2008) and the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program (2009). Most recently, her work was the subject of solo exhibitions at Wilifried Lentz, Rotterdam (2015); Various Small Fires, Los Angeles (2015); Yale Union, Portland (2013); Paula Cooper Gallery, New York (2013) and The Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster (2013). Her work has also been exhibited at The Whitney Museum, New York (2015); Galerie Andreas Huber, Vienna (2015); Art Space, Sydney (2015); The Highline, New York (2014); Nam June Paik Art Center, Korea (2014); Carolina Performing Arts, Chapel Hill (2014); KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2014); The Kitchen, New York (2014); Lisson Gallery, London (2013); the Performa 11 Biennial, New York (2011); The Pace Gallery, New York (2011) and MoMA PS 1, New York (2010). Laser is the recipient of grants from Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation Grant (2013), the Southern Exposure Off-Site Graue Award (2013), New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship (2012), the Times Square Alliance (2010) and the Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art (2010).  She lives and works in Brooklyn.



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