Watch now: Tony Oursler – The New Social Environment with The Brooklyn Rail
13 August 2020
On Friday 14 August, Tony Oursler discussed recent and selected works with The Brooklyn Rail Editor-at-Large, Thyrza Nichols Goodeve, as part of The New Social Environment, an ongoing series of online lunchtime talks with artists, writers and poets.
Tony Oursler is an American multimedia and installation artist. Always rooted in the medium of film, Oursler conjures sculptural and immersive experiences using technologies that hark back to magic lanterns, Victorian light shows, camera obscura and auratic parlor tricks, but that also look forward to the fully networked, digitally assisted future of image and identity production. As a pioneer of video art in the early 1980s New York, Oursler specialized in hallucinogenic dramaturgy and radical formal experimentation, employing animation, montage and live-action: “My early idea of what could be art for my generation was an exploded TV”. From performative and low-fi beginnings, Oursler has developed ever-evolving multimedia and audio-visual practice utilizing projections, video screens, sculptures, and optical devices, which might take form as figurative puppets, ethereal talking automatons or immersive, cacophonous environments. His enduring fascination for the conjunctions between the diametrically opposed worlds of science and spiritualism has allowed him to explore all kinds of occult and mystical phenomena. Tony Oursler lives and works in New York.
Thyrza Nichols Goodeve, PhD is an Editor-at-Large for the Brooklyn Rail. She is an art writer and hobby cartoodlist who writes “with” rather than “on” contemporary art and artists. Her interests range across art as a “structure of feeling”, human/nonhuman animal ontologies, the natural fantastic, the aesthetics of wonder, theories and practices of writing, the interview as essay, the history of modernism(s), surrealist methodologies, dystopias and utopias, and the metaphysics of technology. She has published in The Brooklyn Rail, Art Agenda, Artforum, Art in America, and numerous artist’s catalogs. She has a Masters in Cinema Studies from NYU, and a PhD from The History of Consciousness Program at UC Santa Cruz. She is the author of How Like A Leaf: A Conversation with Donna Haraway (1999) and is working on an updated forthcoming edition, and compiling her collected writings titled, No Wound Ever Speaks for Itself: Writing, Art, Vulnerability, Conversation, Attitude, with a preface by Avital Ronell.
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Image: Tony Oursler, aU>t-0, 2019
Glass, wood, LED screens, audio, video, acrylic, resin, and computer