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The Paley Center for Media

December 2–9, 2011 Opening Reception Friday, December 2, 7:00 p.m.

An exhibition of outstanding works created by graduate students at The New School and selected by a panel of distinguished jurors. Mixed Messages celebrates the Media Studies program’s focus on theory, design, and practice across media.

Film/Video Arts

Museum of the Moving Image

The Strand

SOHO Gallery for Digital Art 138 Sullivan Street New York City ADMISSION FREE Open to the public MORE INFORMATION 212.229.8903



Memory and Location of New York City Matt Whitman


Rediscovery of the Passenger Pigeon

Hethre Matangi Contant

(installation: video, sound, print, sculpture)

WELCOME Welcome to Mixed Messages, our annual Media Studies graduate student showcase. This is the time of year we share some of the most exciting work from the past year in film, video, sound and multimedia. Our core commitment to the importance of the bond between theory and practice across all media platforms continues to provide us with a rich context for imagination, innovation and social commentary. This year’s collection of experimental, documentary and narrative projects exemplifies the creative best of our students and faculty. Celebrate along with us, and enjoy. Barry Salmon Chair, School of Media Studies

Space, Place, Experience Stephanie Kauffman

(3-channel video installation)


Francois Vaxelaire


The Anonymous Heartache Project Erin Culton (installation, audio/video)

Bundled, Buried and Behind Closed Doors

Ben Mendelsohn (video, 10:00)

Disease of Manifestation

Tzu-An Wu

(video, 10:10)


Courtney Krantz (film, 6:35)


Honorable Mentions Kenneth Anderson Tuesday (film)

Christopher Bentley City Cantata (film/video)

Alex Chaparro Untitled (video)

Aicha Diop Portraits in Time (film/video)

Tal S. Shamir The Vermeers (video)

Shaun Seneviratne

Matt Whitman Study for a Lament of Film and a Celebration of Digital Cinema

(video, 07:12)


Inhan Cho

(video, 04:17)

Life Like

Long After We're Gone Nerina Penzhorn

(video, 3:56)


Upstairs in the Gallery:

Memory and Location of New York City

Rediscovery of the Passenger Pigeon


(installation: video, sound, print, sculpture)

This piece plays with concepts of migration. The initial source material is experience—perhaps memories. The original source was light and shadow imprinted onto celluloid from spaces within each memory. Then, the material underwent a process of physical transformation—a personal imprint of affect, chaos, fascism, ‘pure’ aesthetic. A new ‘shot’ is multiplied with the first one, across most of the 200 foot strip of celluloid—a durational moment of montage.

This installation sets the stage for a narrative about the rediscovery of the passenger pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius) in New York City. This bird once ruled the air, but due to over-hunting, became extinct in 1914. Last winter, the passenger pigeon was “rediscovered” living in a birdhouse in Manhattan. Although audio of the extinct bird does not exist, various written descriptions of the passenger pigeon’s call allowed recognition of the sound produced by this gregarious creature. The birdhouse on display provides shelter to a rediscovered passenger pigeon. A speaker was added to the dwelling in order to amplify the voice of the bird within. Audio and video document a number of environments where the bird has been spotted throughout the city. As you listen to the birdhouse, imagine how it interacts with the environment, the gallery, and story you’ve been told about its rediscovery. Pressing the button near the birdhouse, you can learn even more about the passenger pigeon, its extinction, and its recent rediscovery.

The second half of the journey is another migration from a realm of materiality, physical imprinting, “handmadeness,” analog… to whatever the opposite of those things are—‘digital’ would be the most common and convenient definition. This migration allows for an attempt of the material to become invisible—seemingly more so than in the first realm of materiality. In a digital world of invisibility, the resulting image is, literally, a new visual layer—but also a continuing migration and return to the form in which the project started and a re-synthesizing of all the original images into a product constructed by the viewer. Any other ‘montage’ contained or constructed in this project is secondary. The linear change from shot to shot—from location to location—is close to irrelevant. The only intentional montage is ontological. Matt Whitman is from West Chester, Pennsylvania

and currently lives and goes to school in New York City. He studied at Ursinus College and Yale University. His work has been shown at the 8th Annual Big Apple Film Festival held at the Tribeca Cinemas (2011), Parsons’ 25 East Gallery (2011), The New School Media Studies Department’s FINE CUTS (2011), The Greenpoint Gallery (2010), Ursinus College Student Art Exhibition (2010) and the Urban-Suburban Film Festival (2008).

Hethre Matangi Contant makes radio and

sound art. Very curious, she likes to explore untraveled pathways and discover forgotten information. Her thesis underway in the Media Studies M.A. program is about the aesthetic of German radio during the Weimar Republic, a project supported by the German Fulbright Commission and the RIAS Journalist Exchange Program. She acts as Senior Producer for WNSR, New School Radio, and produces a podcast for the philosophically and poetically inclined n+1 magazine, which is free on iTunes. Her work has been heard on PRX’s Public Radio Remix, WBAI, CKUT, Free 103point9, Eyebeam, Art In General, and other nodes of the internet.

VAXOTYPE (video, 20:00)

Space, Place, Experience (3-channel video installation)

Videos on three screens unveil a journey, but also allow for various associations to be made. As an unknown character strolls through various natural terrains, the perspective shifts from that of the character, to an unseen companion, to the space itself. The shifts in perspective and the connections between screens build a space where the viewer becomes just as important as the space itself. Stephanie Kauffman has been making film and

video art since 2003. She received her B.A. from Hampshire College in film and philosophy in 2005. In 2011, she finished her M.A. in Media Studies at the New School where she further pursued these same interests and created the video installation and graduate thesis Space, Place, Experience. She has created over 20 short films and videos.

VAXOTYPE is a way of looking at reality; it is not only pictures, not only sounds; it tries to go further by rethinking the way we "take" moments of reality and
the way we present them afterward. Reality is about time and space and VAXOTYPE takes time, in moments, in many—or—any place(s). Each image was taken with a pinhole camera and is blurred depending on the exposure
time that was necessary to take it. It is coupled with the sound
that “took place” during the time of exposure. VAXOTYPE is presented as endless and random video loops of 100+ “Vaxotypes” that allow viewers to experience a personal and unique moment each “time.” Francois Vaxelaire is Belgian-born and holds a masters degree in Sociology. He has worked as a multimedia artist since 2007. Now New Yorkbased, he shares his time between personal projects and freelance work for NGO’s, UN agencies, and private sector clients.

He currently studies in the Media Studies program at the New School, New York. His recent works include a multimedia project on South Kivu’s Carrier Women as well as an ongoing series, titled Free Portrait, on contemporary African jobs. Kampala’s “Boda Boda Drivers” and “Washer Men” are the latest addition to this series.


Downstairs in the Auditorium: Disease of Manifestation, February, and Long After We're Gone will also be on view on screens in the gallery.

The Anonymous Heartache Project (installation: audio/video)


Disease of Manifestation

The Anonymous Heartache Project is an experimental documentary hybrid that explores the varied perceptions of human intimacy through the examination of personal messages that were never meant for public eyes. The project started with a call for submissions posted on looking for people willing to submit any old/new letters, stories, emails, voicemails or any other medium that contains a message pertaining to some emotionally charged aspect of a personal relationship. In an attempt to deconstruct and universalize the deeply personal content of the messages being examined, the letters were rendered anonymous and then read aloud by random third party readers. The result is a database of material, from unrelated anonymous sources, that addresses the heartache of love lost. Invited artists and filmmakers then created visual media inspired by the material on the project website with the aim of exploring how the meaning of the language used in love/hate letters shifts as it is filtered through a reader’s personal intonations and paired with suggestive imagery. The result is a collaborative multimedia study on the semantics of intimacy. Erin Culton is a multimedia artist with a

background in fine art, photography and video production. She graduated from the Art Institute of Chicago in 2001. Since then she has worked as freelance artist and educator. Her work has been exhibited in several galleries in the city of Chicago as well as in New York, Tokyo, and Hamburg. Erin recently relocated to Brooklyn, NY in order to pursue her M.A. in Media Studies at The New School. (

(video, 10:10)

Bundled, Buried and Behind Closed Doors (video, 10:00) Lower Manhattan’s 60 Hudson Street is one of the world’s most concentrated hubs of Internet connectivity. Set in the dense, mixeduse neighborhood of Tribeca, the building’s nondescript brick exterior conceals several network interconnection facilities where huge amounts of data are exchanged. This short documentary peeks inside, offering a glimpse of the massive material infrastructure that makes the Internet possible. Ben Mendelsohn earned his M.A. in Media

Studies from The New School in 2011, where his thesis, Bundled, Buried and Behind Closed Doors, examined the economic geography of Internet infrastructure. Currently, he works in online marketing for Lambda Legal, a nonprofit to advance the civil rights of LGBT people and people living with HIV.

This work was inspired by the idea of the Left Melancholy, discussed in Wendy Brown’s article Resisting Left Melancholy. Brown applied Benjamin’s notion of “Left Melancholia” to critique certain political thoughts and norms in the left-wing movement/theory traditions as a form of melancholia. Extending this idea, the “thingness” of thoughts that originate in one’s personal or collective memories can become a pathological fixation. The passionate political speeches in our everyday lives can be considered as a compulsory desire to maintain, to repeat, and to reproduce the manifestos, aiming to achieve an unachievable substance. Melancholia in the Freudian context is defined as the subject's attempt to maintain the lost object even more then the subject itself, causing mental disorder. But the reverse of the act of manifestation is rupture with the present world and compulsion to change it. Here enters the paradox between outward-looking and inwardlooking perspectives of the notion of revolution— where manifestations can become an infectious psychosis. This work was composed in a pseudo-automatic writing manner, collaged from the fragments of various forms and contents, images and words, then trimmed through juxtaposition, bad translation, and misreading—forming the work with heterogeneous qualities within.

Tzu-An Wu was born in Taipei, Taiwan 1985,

and now lives in New York. He has made works ranging from animations to experimental films and is interested in alternative culture, especially the grotesqueness and abnormality of individuals in different cultural contexts as counter forces against modernity. He tends to explore the post-human condition. He likes dessert and animals. Tzu-An holds a B.A. in Gender and Cultural Study from National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan (2007), and will receive his M.A. in Media Studies from The New School in December 2011.

DROP STILL (film, 6:35)

An experimental film that originates from a body of work focused on emergent elements of the female body that evaporate with time. This film is a study in light and the encounters that can arise between a proximal and perspectival camera and a moving body. Courtney Krantz is based in Brooklyn, NY. She makes work within the realms of the still and moving image as well as installation and performance-based pieces. Her filmic inquiries are influenced by her considerations of the body, which originate from her exploratory investigations of dance and improvisational movement practices. She is currently developing several projects including her thesis, which addresses Western medical fascination with the female body in early dissection practices; an experimental documentary exploring movement and language; and a performance installation exploring movement-based inquiries between the body and the camera.


Long After We're Gone

(video, 04:17)

(video, 03:56)

Ball, wind, tree, light and shadow. And, the movement of time. Based on aspects of the Lumière brothers’ work, this project originally was intended to create a one-minute, single video clip. Later, the original work was extended to explore light and time in more depth.

This soundscape piece comprises video and audio field recordings in and around the Gowanus Canal, one of the most polluted waterways in the US. The idea for the work grew out of an interest in acoustic ecology and soundscape composition. Acoustic ecology calls for attentive listening in order to enhance our awareness and understanding of the spaces we move through, and soundscape composition uses field recordings to create a form of electroacoustic music. This project was an exercise in learning how to use sound to create a fuller documentary experience. Video is used in a fairly abstract way, allowing the audio to play a central part in communicating story, mood and meaning. The title originated in a conversation with Eymund Diegel, an Urban Planner, who took the filmmaker out on the canal by canoe. He talked about the natural streams that have been flowing into the canal for centuries and that will still be around long after we're gone.

Inhan Cho was born in Seoul, South Korea and is

a filmmaker and media artist. He is interested in the intersection between documentary and fiction film. Currently he is completing his M.A. in Media Studies and Film at The New School.

Life Like (video, 07:12)

He had a life. Or so he thought. Life Like is a short film about the manipulative powers of editing. Shaun Seneviratne is a Sri Lankan-American

filmmaker based in Brooklyn, NY. While pursuing his Media Studies M.A. over the last two years he has produced many short films and art documentaries. He is currently in postproduction on How Will We Cross the Seas?, a short film about the stress put on a relationship during a crisis, and writing a feature-length screenplay.

Nerina Penzhorn was raised in South Africa

and has been living in the US for 11 years. She freelances as an editor for public television and creates promotional videos for non-profits. Nerina's personal films have screened at various film festivals and she plans on making many more.

JURORS Amanda McDonald Crowley

Marcin Ramocki

Executive Director, Eyebeam Amanda is a cultural worker, curator and facilitator who specialises in creating new media and contemporary art events and programs that encourage cross-disciplinary practice, collaboration and exchange. She moved to New York in October 2005, relocating from her native Australia where she had been based while working nationally and throughout Europe and Asia.

Marcin is a Brooklyn-based new media artist and filmmaker and was the founder and artistic director of the VertexList gallery in Brooklyn (2003-08). Since the mid-90s Ramocki has produced a large body of digital artwork ranging from interactive installation (History/Tectonics, 2003), conceptually driven computer animation (Torcito Project, 2005) to participation in online, cooperative projects (, 2008-current). His works have been presented/exhibited at MoMA, Anthology Film Archives, Hirshhorn Museum, Pacific Film Archives, Art Futura, ZKM Karlsruhe, ACME Melbourne, Le Palais de Glace Buenos Aires, and many more physical and online venues. His recent projects include feature documentaries 8 BIT (2006) and Brooklyn DIY (2009).

Prior to working at Eyebeam, Amanda was executive producer for ISEA2004, the International Symposium for Electronic Arts 2004, held in Tallinn, Estonia and Helsinki, Finland, and on a cruiser ferry in the Baltic sea. She was Associate Director, Adelaide Festival 2002 and in this position was also co-chair of the working group that curated the exhibition and symposium 'conVerge: where art and science meet'. From 1995 to 2000 she was Director of the Australian Network for Art and Technology (ANAT) where she made significant links with science and industry by developing a range of residencies for artists in settings such as science organizations, contemporary art spaces and virtual residencies online; developing crossdisciplinary masterclasses for artists and curators; as well as beginning to establish links with media artists and organizations in Asia. She previously worked with a range of arts organizations in Australia including the Australia Council for the Arts (the federal government's arts funding and advisory body), Arts Training Australia (conducting research for a multimedia education and training strategy), and Electronic Media Arts Australia (incorporating the Australian Video Festival). She has done residencies in Berlin, Germany (1994/5), Banff Centre for the Arts, Canada (2002) and at Sarai in Delhi, India (2002/3), regularly speaks at international conferences and festivals, occasionally writes for journals such as Artlink, RealTime, the Sarai Reader, and Art Asia Pacific; and lurks on a lot of media, technology and culture related email lists.

Robert Nideffer

Robert is a Full Professor in Studio Art and Informatics at UC Irvine. From 2005-2009 he was Co-Director, then Director of the Arts Computation Engineering (ACE) Graduate program. In 1999 he founded the Game Culture and Technology Lab, and in 2005 a related academic Concentration in Game Culture and Technology housed between the School of Information and Computer Science, and the School of the Arts. His game art projects have been shown at prominent venues including Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach, California; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte, Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain; and the 2002 Whitney Biennial.

Executive Producer and Final Jury Coordinator Dawnja Burris Producer and Exhibition Coordinator Christiane Paul Exhibition Coordination Team Piril Gunduz, Victor Peterson, Laura Trager, Angelica Vergel Production Assistant Coordinator Emma Zakarevicius Production Assistant Piril Gunduz First Round Jury Coordinator Diane Mitchell First Round Faculty Judges Melissa Friedling, Ernesto Klar, Brian McCormick Administrative, Promotion and Catering Oversight Dylan Fisher Special thanks to all the students who submitted projects for consideration and the faculty members who guided their work.


2011 Mixed Messages  

Mixed Messages is an annual graduate student showcase presented by the Department of Media Studies and Film at The New School. Selected by a...

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