I Think We Meet Here features three artists—Yue Nakayama (Japan), Shana Hoehn (USA) and Felipe Steinberg (Brazil)—currently participating in the Core Residency Program at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, each in their second year of residence in the program. The title, I Think We Meet Here, describes a proposition not yet resolved, a disorientation in location, a confession of doubt—a collaboration. Though these artists met by chance in the Core Program, their practices have dovetailed in process. In each work, the artists are engaged in a search—for freelance animators, participants on dating/meeting platforms and monsters. Their videos explore the relationships that emerge as a result of their searches.
Yue Nakayama is a video and performance artist. With humor and surrealism, she grapples with the individual’s role in a politically absurd world. Her piece, Love in the Time of True-blue (2018) takes the form of an experimental documentary that investigates and speculates about human connection in an age of extreme polarity and antipathy. The documentary performs a psychological experiment that is designed to accelerate the development of intimacy between two strangers. The artist performs the experiment with multiple strangers, engaging them with secular, non-political questions, yet tapping into the negotiation of assumptions and judgments about culture, race, and gender that inevitably occur.
Shana Hoehn, a video and installation artist also, presents a new video installation, Boggy Creek (2018), based on popular culture and mythology surrounding monster sightings along the Texas-Arkansas border where she grew up. The title, Boggy Creek, is both a local creek where there have been many Fouke Monster (also known as the Southern Sasquatch) sightings, and a name used in a handful of local horror film titles about bigfoot. With the aid of anamorphic illusions, a technique of visual distortion often used throughout art history to camouflage erotic images and dangerous political statements, Hoehn conflates “the real” as it is manifested in folklore, social constructions, and digital manipulations in the video’s images and props.
Felipe Steinberg is a multimedia artist whose work proposes considerations on constructed meanings of the local and the global through circulation. For his new video installation, The Pitch, Steinberg published an advertisement seeking a 3D animator on an online freelancer platform. His six respondents, Hrishik Bagla, Kanishka Dissanayake, Ljupce B. Zitosanski, Lovepreet Singh Juj, Raj Berad and Yabin Li, answered the call and were all hired. The resulting interactions address issues of labor in a global digital economy and counter the loss of workers’ bargaining power caused by the bidding system employed by these platforms. Steinberg’s work aims to look at the transformations of the ethos of labor since the aftermath of the political uprisings of May 1968 — from values such as safety, stability, and respect for hierarchy and specialization — to others, derived directly from the critique of labor: risk-taking ability, malleability, and deterritorialization.