On July 2, Gray Area presents an online lecture by multimedia artist Jono Brandel to launch his new The Transcode Series debuting on Sedition, a digital curated platform. This project offers new ways to view and understand pervasive cultural artifacts, whether at the forefront of our attention or lurking in our collective subconscious. The series expands on the artist’s greater investigation of “transcoding,” a term coined by new media theorist Lev Manovich to describe the cultural influence of digital systems.
In this artist talk, Brandel will illuminate his process in creating The Transcode Series, with a focus on Harm to Ongoing Matter, a video artwork juxtaposing elements of the Mueller Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election. The artwork originated from Gray Area’s curation of a live audiovisual performance by visual artist Jono Brandel and electronic musician Christina Chatfield at La Gaîté Lyrique in Paris, during the city’s famed Nuit Blanche on October 5, 2019.
This spring, the global pandemic suspended events worldwide — from Brandel’s artwork launch, originally set to debut at La Gaîté Lyrique in Paris, to all events and education programs at Gray Area’s home in the Grand Theater in San Francisco. On July 1, Jono Brandel will now debut The Transcode Series on Sedition’s online Curated Platform sales to benefit Gray Area, a nonprofit and art community that Brandel has been actively involved with since the organization was founded 12 years ago. As the current global crisis breaks the established order of everyday life, this moment offers an opportunity to rewrite our cultural values. This project offers critical insight to the power of art under democracy — how art can amplify the strengths and vulnerabilities of systems of security and support, and create a collective site for both communion and critique.
The Transcode Series comprises three works that explore technology’s ability to connect and art’s capacity to question. These pieces are realized through the gesture of juxtaposition. In the first piece, Lost Treasures Found, the forgotten escapades of gladiator turned academic Encolpius juxtapose Latin and Emojis in Petronius' Satyricon. In des Objets Reconnus the computer’s perception is presented as a side by side comparison of image and text in hundreds of famous oil paintings throughout history. And in Harm to Ongoing Matter, the “Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election” is attached to the club ambiance of Paris’ Nuit Blanche curated by Gray Area through novel visual jockeying (VJ) in a live audiovisual performance. These projects offer new ways to look at and understand pervasive cultural artifacts that live with us everyday, whether at the forefront of our attention or lurking in our collective subconscious.