Monday March 10, 7pm
Myth Mash
Videos by Katie Cercone
admission $6 – artist in person

Still from “Queen Candy Bile” (Katie Cercone, 2010) © courtesy of the artist

We are very pleased to welcome New York-based artist Katie Cercone for a solo screening of new and recent video works. Microscope has previously shown two of Cercone’s videos on different occasions as part of curated group screenings. Through her performative videos – always involving complex, glittering mixed-media sculptures that become actual film sets – Cercone explores feminism and the spirituality of hip hop, intended as the embodiment of the free expression of power, symbolism, dance and song as metalanguage.
Katie Cercone will be available for Q&A after the screening.

“Through bodily expression and digital collage overlay of hip hop gliteratti scavenged from the internet, my videos explore where the pictorial motifs and symbols of contemporary popular culture interface with the 5D cosmic archetypal realm of Gods and Goddesses.” – KC

Katie Cercone was born 1984 in Santa Rosa, CA. She has shown her performative video sculpture and collaborative work throughout the United States and abroad including at the Brooklyn Museum, Bronx Museum, DODGEgallery, C24 Gallery, Kunsthalle Galapagos and Momenta Art. She has been twice nominated for the Rema Hort Mann Visual Arts Grant, and recently received with her collective Go! Push Pops a Brooklyn Arts Council Grant and the Culture Push Fellowship for Utopian Practice. Her work has been featured in Hyperallergic, Paper Magazine, Art Fag City, Washington Post, Art Net TV, Bushwick Daily, Societe PerrierBronxNet TV and Calyx Journal among other publications. She is also a yoga instructor, curator and adjunct faculty at the School of Visual Art, having curated shows for Momenta Art, Cue Art Foundation and NurtureArt. She has published critical writing in Bitch MagazineREVOLT MagazineUtne Reader, ART PAPERS, Girls Against God and N. Paradoxa
Cercone is a founding member of the queer transnational feminist collective Go! Push Pops.

PROGRAM includes:

Athena Originoo (Scopped + Chrewed), 2012
Performative Video Sculpture, 6:58 min
A ferocious and implacable fighter, Athena the Warrior Goddess is the daughter of Zeus, who during Athena’s gestation deceived his pregnant wife with cunning words against the warnings of Mother Earth and Father Sky and assimilated Athena into his own body.  On Athena’s birthday she leaped from the head of Zeus, already adult, dressed with her armor.  Athena Originoo (Scopped + Chrewed) is a Don Trip cover of the Drake hit ‘I’m On One’ performed by Athena Originoo, a suburban-bred pregnant hermaphrodite pie high in the rapper scry of an Africanizing griot gorge. This work recalls the early 90s transfunctionalization of Hip Hop that saw corporate America aggressively coopt and market the culture to white adolescents of the artist’s generation through randomly applying its signs and codes to items like snack foods, Barbie Dolls and breakfast cereal. Fuck you, Europe, I ain’t sprung from no man’s head. This is ancestor worship of an incipient warrior nature. And yo, I said wigga, not **gga.

Babysitter in Furs, 2010
Performative Video Sculpture, 3:29 min
Babysitter in Furs is a short video about black popular culture and the American musical fetish. A mash up of internet-scavenged audiovisual material, this film includes footage of Lil Wayne’s daughter, her birthday party, Wayne’s prison release automated message and Cercone’s own voiceover of excerpts from Theodor Adorno’s seminal theory “Culinary Listening.” Poop on cake is a reoccurring visual motif to illustrate Adorno’s point that popular music forces listeners into a passive sensual and emotional acceptance of predigested yet disconnected qualities.

Dretish, 2014
Video Collage, 12 sec
Dretish is a short video collage were Cercone overlays a photo of her childhood self over a posse of rappers and sings the loop “And who’s gonna be my girlfriend, who’s gonna ride or die with me?” from the B2K Song Girlfriend.

Gangbang ATL, 2012
Performative Video Sculpture, 5:39 min
Gangbang ATL conflates the black vernacular term for the city of Atlanta “ATL,” with the mythical waterworld of Atlantis. In this film, Cercone samples from contemporary hip hop music to tell an old folktale called ‘La Llorona.’  Translated to ‘The Weeping Woman,’ La Llorona  is a story about the river of life that became a river of death. La Llorona is the grand dame that is the sweet slot between the thighs of the earth, she walks the land in a full swirling skirt of blue and silver making the waters clear again.  The River is a metaphor here for creativity, which is meant to be an act of clear consciousness. Working with the metaphor of water, Cercone conflates the erotic gestures of music television with kundalini yoga and kung fu, and begins to play the ancestral secret in her own strong voice.

Grind 4 Da Shine (short version), 2011
Performative Video Sculpture, 2:05 min
Grind 4 Da Shine is a 2nd chakra flow in which I pose female hip hop stars Ciara and Willow Smith as Contemporary Goddess archetypes. Enhancing the environment with 2nd chakra specific symbols – water, crystals, fish, sex, money – dance emerges as a healthy expression of the second chakra. Aping choreography taken from Ciara’s music video Ride, I call attention to the choreography’s near exact replication of the yogic asana known as Goddess, a hip opener deeply connected to creativity. I also conflate the foundational ‘Downward Dog’ or ‘Adho Mukha Svasana’ with the popular vernacular dance form pioneered by Louisiana native Big Freedia called Sissy Nobby or Sissy Bounce. The soundtrack culls from artists such as Lil Wayne, Biggie and Snoop Dogg, overlaid with the sound of my ‘bling’ and several tracks of my own Ujjayi Pranayama, a style of yogic breathe designed to mimic the sound of the ocean waves; ocean or water again being the elemental symbol of the sex chakra.

Queen Candy Bile, 2010
Performative Video Sculpture, 6:27 min
Queen Candy Bile is a performative video sculpture illustrating neuroses as a contemporary form of Romanticism. Cercone here defines Romanticism as a constellation of motivations, particularly its fixation with a remote, perfected and pseudo-spiritual ideal. Notions of idealized love and the aestheticised “objectified” other as intimate source of pleasure/desire/fear factor into her work in the vein of Slavoj Žižek’s “traversing the fantasy” and Theodor Adorno’s ‘culinary listening.’ Cercone’s image inventory usurps the rhythm of the fetish-commodity: the consumption of products of entertainment which are lined with pre-digested, shining points of sensory stimulation promoting the rejection of physical intimacy in favor of private, proprietary pleasure. Queen Candy Bile records a private act of (trans)aggression acted out against a duo of tween heartthrobs utilizing binge foods – ice cream, marshmallow cream, whipping cream, frosting, sprinkles and maraschino cherries  – as artillery. The work recalls the artist’s tortured bulimic youth and paints a rainbow sherbet bridge between the consumption of sweets, icons, and popular music as prosthetic boyfriend. This is post-capitalist, feminist toil. Queen Candy Bile is moving through the passivity of fantasy into the activity of imagination and intimate revolt.

Shawty Drippin’, 2010
Performative Video Sculpture, 3:57 min
Music Sampled: Candy (Drippin’ Like Water) by Snoop Dogg, Blow by Project Pat, Brown Paper Bag by Birdman and Lil Wayne, Get a Light by Snoop Dogg, Drop It Like Its Hot and Down and Out Freestyle by DJ Drama and Lil Wayne, Big Momma Thang and Queen B@#$H by Lil’ Kim, Pussy Poppin by Ludacris, Oh No by Lil Wayne, Wanna Love You Girl by Robin Thicke, What’s My Name by Rihanna, Ride (Feat Ludacris) by Ciara, All I Want is You by Miguel.

Shawty Drippin’ illustrates neuroses as a contemporary form of Romanticism. ‘Your ass is in what you sing,’ wrote Fred Moten, whose work on the radical black tradition sheds light on the role of improvisation and the dispersive sensuality of sound and speech, the ‘constituting intoxication of that most radical political aesthetic reason.’ Investigating the spiritualism of hip hop and the musical fetish as occultation of thought, Shawty Drippin’ explores the value of ritual, devotion and dancing as the healthy expression of the 2nd chakra (sex, money, power).

Treemonisha Drank Up (Kakey Long Tongue Redux), 2012
Performative Video Sculpture, 4:50 min
Treemonisha Drank Up (Kakey Long Tongue Redux) takes its name from ragtime composer Scott Joplin’s early modern folk opera Treemonisha, one of the first Black operas to receive widespread crossover recognition. Characterized by its Modernist rejection of African myth and ritual in favor of Enlightenment style individual determinism, Treemonisha’s poetic armature was the polarization of education and light against superstition and darkness played out in the title character receiving schooling in a white woman’s home. As a foil to its namesake, Treemonisha Drank Up is a yoga hip hop feminist fusion about a white female – educated to the point of neuroses and nervous disorders – balancing out her third chakra as she absorbs the intuitive archetypes, metaphors and ritual of African cultural memory preserved in Hip Hop music. Notable Hip Hop icons appear as spectral God/Goddess Archetypes conjured via a possession dance: Lil Wayne, Lil B, Rihanna and Nicki Minaj. Treemonisha Drank Up also samples and remixes an internet video by porn sensation Kakey Long Tongue, drawing a comparison between the proud display of her tongue as a coveted sexual organ and the use of lion’s breath in yogic practice to relieve tension and roar.

Trilluminati Universiddhi, 2013
Performative Video Sculpture, 3:10 min
Trilluminati Universiddhi is Cercone’s own cover of A$ap Rocky’s track “Purple Swag,” re-conceiving his drug-meme lyrics by anchoring them around the notion of the 3rd eye. Called “Ajna” the 3rd eye resonates with the color purple and relates to intuition and out of body experiences. Spliced in with A$ap Rocky videos Cercone narrates visually the opening of her third eye through Kundalini yoga and meditation to cosmic oneness and “siddhis,” special occult powers. Because she believes in Love, in her work she traces its perversions. Trilluminati Universiddhi is yoga hip hop fusion, the nursemaid who musicated blocked passageways, and unburdened unconscious psychic conflicts. The Trilluminati title references the Illuminati conspiracy theory, that which rapper Bocafloja identifies as a pathology of late capitalism derived from our misshapen relationship to money, power and success. In this work Cercone is exploring the Trilluminati mythography as a type of intersubjective e-commerce or collective ‘exquisite corpse’ incorporating pop cultural and ancient archetypal systems.

Womb on My Thuggle, 2011
Performative Video Sculpture, 6:10 min
Contemporary remake of the ancient Egyptian myth of Isis and Osiris. W.O.M.T. features Goddess Isis, played by an Illuminati inducted Minnie Mouse that watches Basketball Wives, paddling through the Nile scavenging the 14 dismembered body parts of her lover Osiris so that she may bring back to life his seven spirit souls.

Running Time: approximately 45 minutes

Still from “Athena Originoo (Scopped + Chrewed)” (Katie Cercone, 2012) © courtesy of the artist

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