The Imminent Failure Show

Curated by Ben Russell


Life is hard.  Being a Video Artist is hard.  The only people who Make It Big are under the age of 23, but they’re doing so many drugs and wearing so much neon they’ll probably all be dead or colorblind by this time tomorrow.  What a drag.  Success is impossible, man – it’s like trying to wake up from a bad dream that’s not a dream at all (WORDEN).  And communicating with the masses?  Why even bother… I mean, not only do you have to speak French while topless to get your point across (DUKE AND BATTERSBY), but you have to exploit your own perfection (FLEISCHAUER), your gallerist keeps shooting you (TASSET), your mom keeps swearing at you (HECHTMAN), your favorite episodes of the Real World and Full House have been messed with (SYMS and ROBINSON), your intestines keep falling out (STOLTMAN), and even when you take the time to explain yourself (over and over) those damn kids on YouTube keep dissing your costume videos (BRESS).  Sometimes being a Video Artist is like going on a forever trip to nowhere (GOLDBERG) while a crowd of Zombies tear you limb from limb (PETERSON), but at least you’ve got ART, right?  You’ve got us too, and because we sympathize with your doomed pursuit, here’s a collection of videos that won’t make you feel like a total failure…

FEATURING: Squibs by Tony Tasset (:35 loop, video, 1996), The Fine Arts by Emily Vey Duke and Cooper Battersby (4:00, video, 2001), Hardjob by Brian Bress (1:33, video, 2006), When We Start Being People by Martine Syms (7:00, video, 2007), Double Sigh by Julia Hechtman (4:00, video, 2000), Untitled Home Movie by Joe Tipre (3:00, video, 2007), Everyday Bad Dream by Fred Worden (6:00, video, 2006), Light is Waiting by Michael Robinson (11:00, video, 2007), Perfection by Eric Fleischauer (2:15, video, 2005), Over and Over by Brian Bress (4:10, video, 2006), Voyage to Garbage Isle by Leif Goldberg (7:00, video, 2004), I Spill My Guts Every Day For Nothing by Kirsten Stoltman (3:00, video, 2002), How to Escape From Stress Boxes by Paper Rad (4:00, video, 2006), UV/ Energy Fields by Ara Peterson  (12:00, video, 2003), Perfect Nature World by Shary Boyle, Emily Vey Duke and Cooper Battersby (3:30, video, 2002), Art Needs No Explanation by Brian Frye (1:00, video, 2007)

TRT 74:00


Squibs by Tony Tasset (:35 loop, video, 1996) From Chicago conceptualist Tony Tasset comes a short video about the perils of being a gallery artist.  Like Chris Burden, but with more blood and one less bullet to display in a glass case.

The Fine Arts by Emily Vey Duke and Cooper Battersby (4:00, video, 2001) “I hate the fine arts. I hate and am disgusted by the fine arts, because, um, the fine arts are always made with artifice.” – EVD

Hardjob by Brian Bress (1:33, video, 2006) “You know what, being a doctor is hard, being a doctor is hard.  Another hard job would be a fireman.” – BB

When We Start Being People by Martine Syms (7:00, video, 2007) Via blurred faces, clipped sound, and Becky in a Dr.Seuss hat, an excerpt from the first season of MTV’s The Real World becomes a pointed treatise on race in America, circa 2007.

Double Sigh by Julia Hechtman (4:00, video, 2000) “My mother reenacts a scene from my adolescent experience in Double Sigh. This video takes you on an emotional rollercoaster ride as my mother guilts and shames the viewer.” – JH

Untitled Home Movie by Joe Tipre  (3:00, video, 2007) Your Uncle is drunk again, passed out on the couch with a full beer bottle resting on his crotch.  “It’s gonna spill!” – your Aunt starts laughing and somebody in your family hits record on the camera.  A priceless moment.  Ten years pass.  Repeat.

Everyday Bad Dream by Fred Worden (6:00, DV, 2006) “Like picking shards of broken glass out of pile carpet on a hangover morning.” – Fred Worden

Light is Waiting by Michael Robinson (11:00, video, 2007) Full House (Season 3, Episode 1): D.J. and Kimmy decide to watch two television programs simultaneously in order to solve an argument.  Stephanie asks “What. Are. You. Doing?” as the girls carry the larger TV up the stairs.  Something goes terribly wrong – the Tanner family vacation to Hawaii is ruined by savages, Elvis songs, and an insistent flicker that devours their ghost selves within the realm of the metaphysical…

Perfection by Eric Fleischauer  (2:15, video, 2005) Two halves make a whole – there could never be a better person.

Over and Over by Brian Bress (7:10, video, 2006) “If you do the same thing over, over and over, people won’t be confuuuuused.” – BB

Voyage to Garbage Isle by Leif Goldberg (7:00, video, 2004) A flicker movement towards infinity through a landscape populated by negative whales, solar bears, the letter A, guitar players, and more.  Mat Brinkman is on the radio and the windows are rolled down (are there windows at all in this thing?). Keep your eye on the blue dot, Kids, and the next one who asks “Are we there yet?” is going to get out and walk.

I Spill My Guts Every Day For Nothing by Kirsten Stoltman (3:00, video, 2003) The terrors of domesticity, revealed. This is a metaphor for everything.

How to Escape From Stress Boxes by Paper Rad (4:00, video, 2006) Little Dude follows a couple trolls through a pixellated landscape in search for a way out.  There is no way out, or rather just one way out.

UV/ Energy Fields by Ara Peterson  (12:00, video, 2003) A Beginning: Hypnosis precedes death, B-Movie horror-film style.  Deliverance arrives through spray after endless spray of red red blood, sends us into an afterlife pulse of energy fields.  A Correction: there is no death because there is no end.

Perfect Nature World by Emily Vey Duke and Cooper Battersby (3:30, video, 2002) An animation which describes the feelings of longing and inadequacy we experience when faced with the exquisite indifference of the natural world. Originally illustrated on a twenty foot scroll of butter-coloured paper by Shary Boyle and then animated by Cooper Battersby.

Art Needs No Explanation by Brian Frye (1:00, video, 2007) Justice Sanders opines on the practice of art criticism. No embellishments necessary.