Ways of Something: 58 Web-Based Artists Remake Historic Art Documentary, One Minute At A Time

August 21, 2014 | Marina Galperina

Ways of Seeing (1972) has been sweded by a massive group of digital, new media and web-based artists. Debuting in New York on September 6thWays of Something (2014) keeps the original audio track of John Berger’s seminal BBC program, but replaces all visuals with 60-second artworks, reworking the art history doc into relevancy and insanity.

“I encouraged the artists to update or contradict the material,” Ways of Something curator, artist Lorna Mills tells ANIMAL. “If we erred, I wanted to err on the side of exuberance, and if it ended up a total clusterfuck, I’d be delighted with that too.”

Ways Of Something, clip, Gaby Cepeda

It is a clusterfuck, with 3D renderings, filmic remixes, videos and webcam performances subverting the tropes of art history in an entertaining and overwhelming way.

In Episode 1, Ways Of Something turns a Eurocentric history of “fine art” into dynamic landscapes for critique. Episode 2 examines the female nude and, as Mills says, “It’s absolutely maddening, out of date and sadly still relevant.” Episode 3 is in progress.

JoeMcKayWays Of Something, GIF preview, Joe McKay

The artist was originally invited to curate the project by Julia van Mourik, the director of One Minutes at Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam. “I happened to stumble upon a YouTube video of Ways of Seeing on a Facebook link and realized that it would make a great framework for the program. The original YouTube video had captions so I wanted to keep them in as a formal device.” These caption don’t always stick to the script, transformed into textual elements of the artworks themselves. “The combined work is, in effect, art about art about television about the internet.”

Ways Of Something morphs, warbles, seizes and glitches. It populates classic paintings with World of Warcraft characters. It shines a fleshlight on the male gaze. And as you listen to that voice-of-God narration, that narrative ruptures with flashes of the future.

Ways Of Something, Clip, Jennifer Chan

Episode 1 and 2 screen at Brooklyn’s TRANSFER Gallery on September 6th, followed by a discussion lead by TRANSFER artist Lorna Mills, Julia van Mourik from the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam, and Paddy Johnson of ArtFCity.

“Ways Of Something,” Screening + Discussion, Episode 1: Daniel Temkin, Rollin Leonard, Sara Ludy, Rhett Jones, Jaakko Pallasvuo, Dafna Ganani, Jennifer Chan, Rea McNamara, Theodore Darst, Matthew Williamson, Hector Llanquin, Christina Entcheva, V5MT, Marisa Olson, Joe McKay, Carla Gannis, Nicholas O’Brien, Eva Papamargariti, Rosa Menkman, Kristin Lucas, Jeremy Bailey & Kristen D. Schaffer, Giselle Zatonyl, Paul Wong, Alfredo Salazar-Caro, Sally McKay, RM Vaughan & Keith Cole, Andrew Benson, Christian Petersen, Faith Holland, Jennifer McMackon; Episode 2: Kevin Heckart, Geraldine Juarez, Gaby Cepeda, Angela Washko, Emilie Gervais, LaTurbo Avedon, Lyla Rye, Mattie Hillock, Antonio Roberts, Georges Jacotey, Daniel Rourke, Sandra Rechico & Annie Onyi Cheung, Yoshi Sodeoka, Alma Alloro, LoVid, Andrea Crespo, Ad Minoliti, Arjun Ram Srivatsa, Carrie Gates, Isabella Streffen, Esteban Ottaso, ZIL & ZOY, Hyo Myoung Kim, Jesse Darling, Tristan Stevens, Erica Lapadat-Janzen, Claudia Hart, Anthony Antonellis, 7pm-10pm, TRANSFER Gallery, Brooklyn. (All Images Courtesy Lorna Mills)