You Need to Know This

You Need to Know This, 1:47, 2016

He needs to know what he clearly does not know. The sex is bad and the parties dull. The man peers in vain. The women tell him to shove it and laugh. The historical becomes distorted and reconfigured through the lens of the contemporary.

You Need to Know This is comprised of appropriated mutoscope* erotica footage from c. 1900 of a peeping tom watching women, combined with text sourced from a personal collection of spam email subject-headers for male sexual enhancement supplements. The appropriation and reconfiguration of this erotic footage, which originally presents the moving images from the vantage point of the peeping man, disrupts the viewing expectation and reclaims a voice in representation by subverting the expected relationship, censoring viewer access, and controlling individual privacy.

 

you-need-to-know-this_man_rayburn

The re-composition of these spam statements into guiding directives is superficially humorous, but the underlying premise reveals repeated implications of inadequacy in terms of sexual prowess and relationship capability. The statements consistently imply individual failure and a lack of fulfillment for the receiving partner.

The email subject headers are composed in such a way so as to avoid the filters implemented by the email program – the email headers themselves almost never contain overt sexual references, but rather very much occupy the realm of sexual innuendo. These statements reveal the gymnastic zeal of the market to circumnavigate email filter systems, as well as the immensity of the online sex industry.

 This conflation of these competing yet simultaneously troubling perspectives merely scrapes the surface, but gestures towards the shifting ground of new relational configurations.

you-need-to-know-this_still_pied-piper_rayburn

* A mutoscope was a motion picture machine from the turn of the 20th century, designed for viewing moving photographs, similar in principle to a flip-book. The content varied, but often contained erotica, individually viewable through the machine eyepieces for a small fee. The coinciding of payment and viewing of women in states of public indecency positioned these machines as morally corrupt.

Images: Mutoscope Footage compiled from What the Butler Saw (c.1900) & Mutoscope, Untitled
Text: Yahoo Spam Email Headers
Music: Fletcher Henderson & His Orchestra, Shanghai Shuffle, New York, 1924 (youtube)
Additional Audio: Sagetyrtle (freesound.org)

Nicole Rayburn 2016

 

consume repeat #3

Nicole Rayburn, consume repeat #3, 0:13 loop, 2016

This series of short videos explores the notion of repetition through the isolation of specific gestures. The series focuses on animal interactions with their environments, specifically involving activities surrounding consumption.

The visual effects applied to all three videos position them in the realm of a futuristic hyper-reality while simultaneously resonating with the popular culture of low-fi imagery of youtube animal videos and gifs. Using humour and beauty, the videos explore the complex relations between species and the need for survival.

In consume repeat #3, the subtle violence of the exchange between the Pelican and the Pigeon is contrasted with the humorous and persistent method of the Pelican trying to swallow a large, moving entity. Organic gestures are mechanized into a loop, and the movements speak to habit, compulsion, obsession, and absurdity.

Pelican Gif 2

Found Footage: Pelican Eats Pigeon
Audio samples by Freed, Kangaroovindaloo, & Reitanna (freesound.org)

Nicole Rayburn 2016

consume repeat #2

This series of short videos explores the notion of repetition through the isolation of specific gestures. The series focuses on animal interactions with their environments, specifically involving activities surrounding consumption.

Nicole Rayburn, consume repeat #2, 1:18, 2016

In consume repeat #2, the subtle violence of the exchange between the Monarch Butterflies is contrasted with the slightly humorous frailty of their bodies. Organic gestures are mechanized through the editing process, and the movements speak to habit, compulsion, obsession, and absurdity.

monarchs 3

Nicole Rayburn, consume repeat #2, Still, 1:18, 2016

The metaphor of the butterfly effect – the notion that the minuscule flapping of the wings of a butterfly can dramatically affect the outcome of events in a larger system, such as weather – emphasizes the inter-connectivity of all entities and actions. When seen through the lens of isolated exchanges between insect bodies, this reveals the potential impacts of small violences, and the larger effects they can have. The piece seeks to reflect on what the flap of a wing might mean through repetition, as a flap is never in isolation. Although there is repetition, duration and accumulation deny repeat experiences, and through this repetition emerges the possibility for reinvention (Deleuze).

Audio samples by Headphaze (freesound.org)

Exhibitions:

2017 Antimatter [Media Art], Victoria, Canada (upcoming)

2016 Binnar Visual Arts Festival, Vila Nova de Famalicão, Portugal

Available for distribution through VTape. Please contact: distribution@vtape.org

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Nicole Rayburn 2017

The Trials of Which Witch?

The Sabbath Dance, 0:18 (looping), 2016

***The Trials of Which Witch? is a continuation of my larger research into the figure of the witch. This project will be a drawing-based animation series, which will be the third component in a larger body of work that traces the witch through historical constructions, actual persecutions, and the transformations of this character into contemporary representation. This component focuses specifically on the trial scenarios of three accused witches through a standardized set prosecution questions and explores the possible answers and consequences of each set of responses.

In support of the research component of this upcoming animation project, I received a Yukon College Research Grant for a project titled Women and Prejudice in the Age of the Witch Hunts, which supported travel to The Palace of Inquisition, a museum in Cartagena, Colombia, to gather images and historical documents for the project. The Palace of Inquisition was used during the colonial period as a courthouse, torture chamber, jail, and execution grounds for those accused of witchcraft during the Spanish Inquisition. Research from this excursion will support the development of The Trial of Which Witch?, which will be an animated re-creation of three witch trials based on historical images and documents.

DSCN1100

*** Project in research stages

Photo by Daniel Murray, Cartagena, Colombia

UsThemThemUs

UsThemThemUs is a video comprised of statements extracted from sci-fi cinema in which characters attempt to articulate a boundary between humans and non-humans. These declarations of difference desperately seek to establish delineations between human and machine and animal, yet often resort to nebulous-to-define traits such as emotion, belief, or the soul. Rather than establish clear definitions of what the human is or is not, these attempts instead reveal a slippery space of boundary determinations. Also revealed are the anxieties and pejorative associations entangled with notions of difference and otherness, particularly when ‘the other’ begins to become the same…

Nicole Rayburn, UsThemThemUs, 5:38, 2015

The prevalence of films and TV series such as Bladerunner, Terminator, and Battlestar Gallactica reveal the modern-day anxiety surrounding the boundary between the ‘natural’ and the ‘unnatural’. Fragmented sentences extracted from these sources scroll through the video, overlap, become entangled and overwhelmingly incomprehensible at points. The delineations used to define the human – soul, emotion, or belief – are vague and intangible and do little to establish clarity between the human versus the non-human.

UsThemThemUs_Rayburn

The visual fragments are sourced from online videos and show humans somewhat violently interacting with non-humans – in one clip and baby and child are attacking one another, and in another humans kick robots. Historically, humans have defined themselves in contrast to animals, which was also a continually complicated and fluctuating terrain, yet the contemporary threat is clearly becoming the machine. The response of the Robotic Dogs to the human kicks in the video shows the scientific breakthrough of the robot responding to an unexpected change in the environment and immediately adapting and stabilizing itself. This development is significant in the scientific community, yet also veers towards the actual realization of an artificial intelligence that has only been until recently, anxiously dreamed about by writers and filmmakers. As the machine and the human rapidly become closer in capability, we must contemplate the realities of what this new relationship with ‘the other’ will mean, and the potential manifestations that it can take.

UsThemThemUs_Rayburn

Text and audio statements are all direct citations from selected films.

Audio Samples: Timbre & Aran Reginald

Exhibitions & Screenings:

2017 UsThemThemUs, Underneath the Floorboards, Hackney Picture House, London, UK

2016 UsThemThemUs, Jornadas de Reapropiación, Touring Program, Faro Aragón, Mexico City, Mexico

2016 Jornadas de Reapropiación (Journeys of Reappropiation), Centro de Cultura Digital, México City, Mexico

2016 Antimatter [Media Art], Victoria, Canada (upcoming)

2016 Experiments in Cinema v11.4, Albuquerque, USA

2015 FACT (Foundation for Art & Creative Technology, UK) and Channels (Channels Video Festival) Artist Bursary Shortlist, Curated by Soda Jerk, Shona Illingworth, Rory MacBeth, and Sarah Tutton. Screening in MPavilion, Melbourne, Australia

2015 Interventions Fuse Factory, Ohio State University Mansfield Gallery, OH, USA, Curated by Tyler Cann, Amy M. Youngs, Alison Colman, Kate Shannon, and Doo Sung Yoo (group) http://fuse2015.thefusefactory.org/

Available for distribution through VTape. Please contact: distribution@vtape.org

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Nicole Rayburn 2017

How to Identify a Witch

Nicole Rayburn, How to Identify a Witch, 3:34, 2014

How to Identify a Witch references historically documented methods used to identify and prosecute a witch. The methods presented in the video, although seemingly bizarre, are sourced from witch hunting manuals, such as the Malleus Maleficarum (The Hammer of Witches), which were commonly used reference texts throughout the European justice system during the witch craze.

How to Identify a Witch_7_Orgies

Simple animations created from illustrations and woodcuts derived from these texts serve to emphasize the absurdity and popular prevalence of the witch craze event, but also gesture towards the problematic belief systems that fostered the emergence of this crazed phenomenon that targeted primarily women and the socially vulnerable as ‘others’.

HOw to Identify a Witch_2_Kissing Butt

The continued relevance of this historical topic is manifold. Persecution in the form of repression, exclusion, torture, and execution, premised solely in intolerance of difference, be that physical, behavioral, or spiritual, is still prevalent. As Joseph Klaits poignantly states in Servants of Satan: The Age of the Witch Hunts, “Plainly, we are not dealing with obsolete issues when we consider such problems as the roots of intolerance, manifestations of prejudice against women and minorities, the use of torture by authoritarian rulers, and attempts by religious and political ideologues to impose their values on society”. The witch is a scapegoat blamed for random misfortunes, but more so persecuted for social position, difference, and otherness – emphasizing the continued importance as an issue of contemplation today.

Audio: Devil’s Waltz Hum by AlucardsBride (freesound.org)

How to Identify a Witch_Rayburn

Selected Screenings & Exhibitions:

2016 London Ontario Media Arts Association, Curated by Christina Battle

2016 Cómo reconocer a una bruja, Lima Film Festival, Video Babel Festival Tour Selection, Lima, Peru (Spanish translation)

2015 Video Babel Festival, Cusco, Peru
2015 [.Box] Videoart Project Space Milano, organized by 28th Festival Les Instants Vidéo, Curated by Marc Mercier, Milan, Italy
2015 28th Festival Les Instants Vidéo, [.Box] Program, Marseille, France
2015 Archivo Queer Italia: Religious Bondage, Cuntemporary, London, UK
2014 Which Witch? SOVA Gallery, Dawson City, Yukon

Available for distribution through VTape. Please contact: distribution@vtape.org

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Nicole Rayburn 2017

Which Witch? A Memorial

Which Witch?: A Memorial, Photo Series of 1001, 2015

The photo series Which Witch? A Memorial, consists of 1001 found images of witches. These images are homage to 1001 executed individuals – a fraction of the estimated 100,000 witches tortured and put to death during the European witch craze from 1550-1750. 90% of the images are female witches and 10% are male, reflecting a historically accurate estimate of the ratio of female-male witch executions. The images depict fictional witch-characters of contemporary culture yet simultaneously reflect real individuals tortured and murdered on the premise of a constructed attribution – that of being a witch.

The continued relevance of this historical topic is manifold. Persecution in the form of repression, exclusion, torture, and execution, premised solely in intolerance of difference, be that physical, behavioral, or spiritual, is still prevalent. As Joseph Klaits poignantly states in Servants of Satan: The Age of the Witch Hunts, “Plainly, we are not dealing with obsolete issues when we consider such problems as the roots of intolerance, manifestations of prejudice against women and minorities, the use of torture by authoritarian rulers, and attempts by religious and political ideologues to impose their values on society”. The witch is a scapegoat blamed for random misfortunes, but more so persecuted for social position, difference, and otherness – emphasizing the continued importance as an issue of contemplation today.

WhichWitch_Installation_exhibition

Which Witch? is an exhibition of photo and video work (including How to Identify a Witch & How to Deal with a Witch) which traces the figure of the witch through historical constructions, actual persecutions, and the transformations of this character into contemporary representation.

 Exhibitions:

2014 Which Witch? SOVA Gallery, Dawson City, Yukon

Nicole Rayburn 2015