ART STRIKES BACK
Directed by Gordon Winiemko
San Francisco-based artist Gordon Winiemko is a raconteur. With
his trusty video camera, Winiemko deconstructs and reassembles
the cultural landscape around him. His videos attack with gleefulness
the dominant and influential paradigms that have changed the
value of art not only in the Bay Area but also around the world.
Winiemko mimics and mocks with a sniper's aim all the images
that mass media has to offer.
911 Media Arts Center has invited Winiemko to host a night
of his finest works entitled Art Strikes Back!
In one of his finest pieces, "Art Strikes Back,"
artists being forced out of the Mission District take action.
The documentary follows diverse groups of artists who impose
their art onto unsuspecting people in order to make a point
about the need for space. Whether it's Butoh-like performances
at an intersection or a group of artists parading up and down
the streets yammering on their cell phones, the artists attempt
to reclaim their streets and their space. Winiemko stakes out
trendy sidewalk cafes and gives patrons eviction notices because
they are occupying his space. It is a hilarious look at how
artists take a stand in order to carve out an area for art.
In "Enjoy," Winiemko and his cohorts are enthralled
with a huge, looming Coca-Cola neon sign. As a symbol of consumerism
as its most grotesque, Winiemko takes great pleasure in dismantling
the power of the image. Using "commercials" like the
ones Coke would make, Winiemko brilliantly shows the influence
of advertisement on the public psyche. My favorite fake advertisement
protrays a woman striding down the street, painted in Coke colors
and slathers herself in Coke.
Another target of Winiemko is the gross commercialization of
Christmas. In "Exchange Policy," Winiemko and his
frequent cohort (fellow artist Julie Wyman), document their
shopping spree while interviewing people and getting in trouble
for filming in major department stores. We watch as they happily
play the role of avid consumers, buying cell phones, fancy clothes,
and even a video camera. After the holiday season, Winiemko
and Wyman go back to the stores and return all of the items
they purchased. Yes, even the video camera that they used to
shoot the footage for the video.
Winiemko loves getting in people's spaces and faces. He is
a fine muckraker and his aim is most differently true and right
on. His videos are funny, insightful and thought-provoking and
give a scary, yet truthful look into consumerism.
Art Strikes Back plays at 911 Media Arts Center on Friday, April
12th, 8pm, $6/$4 911 members. 911 is located at 117 Yale Ave
N. Seattle, WA 98109. Filmmaker Gordon Winiemko will be in attendance.