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GLITCH CULT

Carolyn Janssen
Jessye McDowell
Nightmare City


Opening Saturday, December 12th from 6 to 8 pm

Curated by Lydia Anne McCarthy

Jessye McDowell, still from Chronophobia, interactive video, 2013



Essex Flowers is pleased to present Glitch Cult, an exhibition bringing together three emerging artists whose work all spirals around the glitch. Commonly referred to in the context of technology, a glitch represents a minor problem within a system. The slippage that occurs as a result of the glitch allows for new interpretations of established languages, thus layering meanings and subverting cultural norms. In each work, repetition, ritual and the space-time continuum promise new frontiers in perpetuity.

In CAROLYN JANSSENʼS large-scale tableaus, photographs of everyday objects are layered and repeated to create disorienting, sublime landscapes. Blurring the line between painting and photography, she immerses her viewer in psychedelic digital worlds where roaming packs of the artist perform unrecognizable rituals and engage in mini-dramas. Disrupting borders of gender, desire, and materiality, the scenes are saturated, abused and anointed to achieve hyper-superficial, aesthetic surface pleasure.

JESSYE MCDOWELL invites viewers into a disorienting, interactive quasi-narrative. Chronophobia uses the model of database cinema to follow a character inhabiting digital time. The imagery combines ʻorganicʼ, cinematic images with the repetition, replication, ʻflatnessʼ and ʻglitchinessʼ associated with the digital. It suggests a contemporary experience of time that is layered, simultaneous, fractured, repetitive, frustrating, and suffused with both banality and wonder.

Looking backwards and forwards through time, NIGHTMARE CITY remade the late 70s/early 80s British sci-fi/fantasy cult show Sapphire and Steel by layering video technologies and means of reproduction ranging from an analogue 1960s-era broadcast tv camera to to obsolete BetaMax cassettes to the currently ubiquitous YouTube UI. The narrative is re-enacted by a group of amateur actors who interchangeably represent the titular characters: two inter-dimensional time detectives, while NIGHTMARE CITY portrays the remaining characters through composite identities created in post-production. Layering footage of each of the Nightmares, ill-formed chimeric characters depict quixotic notions and misuse of time, space, technology, spiritualism and the supernatural  — all while the re-made footage stutters, struggling to remain in-sync with the original audio track from the show.