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Steve Reinke
Artist

Chicago
March 24, 2011

Steve Reinke is an artist and writer best known for his monologue-based videos. Though he still considers himself a Toronto artist, he has been based primarily in Chicago for over a decade. He is an associate professor at Northwestern University. His video installation The Root Problem of the World, based on Joseph Beuys’ 1976 Halifax lecture, is presented in conjunction with the Images Festival at Birch Libralato until April 23. His hour-long video compilation The Tiny Ventriloquist premieres at Images on April 6. Reinke will present an artists' talk in conversation with James McSwain that day, and his book The Shimmering Beast will also be launched.

1. Collaborating

After years of dabbling with collaboration, I’ve lately embraced it. I’ve always loved editing other people’s footage, and have continued that in projects like Vomit Star with John Marriott, but increasingly the projects go back and forth a number of times, like Music at Night with Dani Leventhal. Some of the collaborative relationships are ongoing, like the animal cartoons I’m making with Jessie Mott. We’ve just finished the second, Blood and Cinnamon, with another - A Day for Cake and Accidents - in the planning stages. Collaborations have brought a new kind of vitality to my work. They’ve opened up new ways of thinking and new avenues of pleasure.

2. James Richards/Elijah Burgher

Perhaps my most pure collaborator is UK-based James Richards: we have no division of labour, but work in parallel, gathering, producing and re-working material. Our past collaborations, like the video Disambiguation, have been at a distance, but in a few months we’re meeting up at the Experimental Television Center in Oswego for an intense week of production. (The venerable upstate New York institution is sadly scheduled to close this year.) I’m also about to start work on a long-form video essay on the queercore scene with Chicago artist Elijah Burgher, best known for his amazing coloured pencil sigil drawings. I feel I have AA Bronson to thank for the eagerness of younger gay dudes to collaborate, and so I thank him.

3. Curt McDowell/Eric Bunger

A few weeks ago I saw a program of Curt McDowell shorts presented by his sister at Iceberg Projects here in Chicago. What little I knew about McDowell was through his connection to George Kuchar (who taped a beautiful video monologue for the screening) and the reputation of his feature Thundercrack (which also screened that weekend in anticipation of the official DVD release later this year). I was blown away by the direct playfulness of his films, a kind of pure, innocent horniness. Less horny (despite the presence of Kylie Minogue and zombies), but equally playful, is The Third Man by young Swedish artist Erik Bünger. It is one of the best video essays I have ever seen.

4. Canadian Cheeto Puffs/Orange

Still have transfat! It makes them delicious. The ones at the bottom of the bag have a wet, soapy texture. American Cheeto Puffs taste like dust. Also: orange is the best colour.

5. Heartbreak

Clears the sinuses.

 

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