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The Big Screen: ‘Truth: 24 Frames Per Second’

by Stephen Becker 29 Nov 2017 8:55 AM

The DMA explores documentary, video art and everything in between



At the Dallas Museum of Art, two large galleries are filled not with paintings or sculpture, but with video screens. The exhibition is called “Truth: 24 Frames Per Second,” and this week, we talk about the show with Anna Katherine Brodbeck, the Nancy and Tim Hanley Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at the DMA.

On the title

This is a quote from [Jean-Luc] Godard, who said that cinema is “truth at 24 frames per second.” We’re interested in kind of putting air quotes around truth, if you will, to interrogate the concept of truth and how artists have used footage from real life. They’ve repurposed footage that may be close to documentary or they’re pulling things from the news, but they are kind of putting truth under the microscope to see how we can truly represent reality or how we can’t and how these kinds of distinctions can be blurred.

On Bruce Conner’s Report 

So, this piece was inspired by the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Conner was living in Brookline, Massachusetts at the time, which is the birthplace of Kennedy. He was really interested in how his assassination was in a way commodified by the media, so he juxtaposes footage of the assassination with news media but also commercials like refrigerator commercials. I think he’s interested in how these fragments of reality got repurposed by the media in a way to be sensationalist; to sell something, be that an idea or product; and how we can interrogate how we’re presented media images.

A still from Phill Collins' "the world won't listen"

A still from Phill Collins’ “the world won’t listen”

On Phil Collin’s the world won’t listen

[This film was shot in Colombia, Turkey, and Indonesia and features fans of The Smiths singing karaoke tracks from their 1987 album “The World Won’t Listen.” ]

This is a work that we showed about ten years ago at the Dallas Museum of Art that was a real crowd favorite, so we’re really happy to show it again. It’s in our permanent collection, and originally, all three countries were shown at the same time. There was this really interesting experience of how The Smiths were broadcast throughout the whole world, and even though these people were living in very disparate countries, we’re all listening to the same songs via the radio. It’s about how people living as far away as Indonesia, Turkey, and Colombia are brought together in song. There’s something very intimately familiar because we all know these songs, and we have our own memories of listening to them. But, you’re someone very different show their own feeling behind it. It’s a very performative work. You really see them hamming it up for the camera.

On staging the exhibition 

We’re very proud of the installation, and everyone at the museum worked really hard on it. It was a very difficult, technical installation. Usually, when you see a lot of film and video works, they’re screened on a single projection or a single screen. We were interested in how these works could be experienced more spatially or sculpturally. So, thinking of these films almost as sculpture and giving them real, physical presence in the space, so you have to navigate through it.

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