Coming Up: Brody Condon


"It's like, noooo, it's like, grabbing, it's like, uhhhh... Uh, it's like a spiral, ssss sorta spiraling colors in it. And its trying to spiral me all in it with it man. Oh. Uh uh. Ahhhh."

So begins Brody Condon's 2006 video Without Sun, a compilation of video clips documenting people under the influence of psychedelic substances. Condon, whose art practice began in the late 1990s in Southern California when he was studying at UC San Diego, will return to Machine Project on July 18, where he will present Without Sun, and then recreate the video with an actor and dancer in a series of live, repeated performances.

Condon's early work was inspired by SoCal media theory and the writing of thinkers such as Katherine Hayles, who was then at UCLA, and Lev Manovich, as well as the DIY ethos of video game hobbyists, who were cheerfully modding games such as Quake, Doom and Half-Life by altering the gameplay and then sharing their ideas in online communities. "Being triangulated between these two," the artist says, "so that I was taking the technical skills from the hobbyists and an articulation of ideas through the theorists, was a way of stepping outside the boundaries and trying to do something else." That "something else" has resulted in a series of compelling media and performance projects that explore the intersection of material bodies and immaterial spaces...

In the piece Untitled (Death Animation) Condon simulates violent computer game deaths in achingly slow motion, calling attention to the rich visual spectacle of video game violence in a work that revises artist Bruce Nauman's performance video Tony Sinking into the Floor, Face Up and Face Down from 1973. In his DVD compilation Suicide Solution, Condon collects a series of documented suicides performed in first- and third-person shooter games, considering death in a realm where it has very different ramifications than in the physical world. Condon has also worked at the intersection of painting, sculpture, performance art and video games: his video loop Judgment Modification (After Memling) is based on "The Last Judgment," a triptych painted by Netherlands artist Hans Memling between 1467 and 1471; Condon's version is a digital animation that borrows elements of Memling's painting, restaging them within a video game vernacular, while the wryly humorous (and strangely beautiful) KarmaPhysics is a modification of the Unreal game and gives viewers a bunch of convulsing Elvis bodies.

With the video and performance Without Sun, Condon considers visionary worlds once again, but this time through psychedelia and the projection of self into another imaginary world. With the repetition - with performers recreating video footage that captures an earlier performance - Condon achieves a fascinating relay and once again invites us to think about the real and virtual, as well as issues such as self, projection and performance.

the details
Without Sun by Brody Condon
Video screening at 8:00 p.m.
Performances from 8:15-8:30, 9:00-9:15, and 9:45-10:00 p.m.
Machine Project
1200 D North Alvarado
Images: 1) Without Sun; 2) Judgment Modification (After Memling)