- Max Fields
Recorded conversation is inherently paradoxical, as it simultaneously registers an “original” context while creating a document through which it may be reiterated and recontextualized. Reflections on past discussions make room for multiple interpretations, allowing meanings to shift, to be co-opted, and to respond to the present contexts within which they are read or experienced. The artists in Not Quite Verbatim make use of this possibility; they approach interviews and related forms of recorded conversation with critical wit and scrutiny, exploiting the space between recorded speech and its subsequent presentations to reveal the underlying codes, conventions, and tropes that otherwise elude critical attention.
This project examines the recorded conversation within mass media contexts through references to celebrity Q & A’s and talking-head documentaries, and also self-reflexively locates its subjects within the socially and historically specific realm of contemporary art, wherein one’s ability to speak in public has become an increasingly essential skill. In collaborative duo Jay Chung and Q Takeki Maeda’s work, the artists draw their readymade materials from archival records and transcripts of artist interviews that borrow their formal structures from the conventions of pop culture. By employing playful juxtaposition and witty presentation, the artists emphasize the artifice of on-the-record statements and their dependency on original context. D’Ette Nogle similarly draws from the language of pop culture, exploring shared affinities between media, artistic persona, and the maintenance of socio-cultural value during moments of public evaluation, such as television interviews, magazine features, and exhibition statements, when artists are asked to articulate a defense of their work. Through the manipulation of cinematic tropes such as remaking and reenacting, Amie Siegel’s densely layered films blend fact with fiction and public with private as she explores complex relationships between interviewer/interviewee, performer/director, and analyst/analysand. In this way, her work illuminates the transgressive procedures which underpin the production of images and the subjects within them. Audra Wolowiec utilizes seemingly closed texts as scores for re-performance, interrupting monologic diatribes through structural interventions and performances that produce space for conversation and challenge the limitations of authorship.
Not Quite Verbatim features Jay Chung and Q Takeki Maeda’s video Untitled (2015) and accompanying Polaroid productions stills, Amie Siegel’s feature-length film Empathy (2003), and individually commissioned works by artists D’Ette Nogle and Audra Wolowiec.
The exhibition is accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue, designed by Houston-based designer Amanda Thomas, featuring texts by the curator and commissioned and reproduced texts by participating artists.