Video Art Pioneer Charles Atlas Stages His Most Ambitious Work to Date at Brooklyn’s Pioneer Works, Alex Greenberger, δημοσίευση στο ArtNews [6/9/2022]Marilena Pateraki
“I’m addicted to TikTok, just so you know,” said the 73-year-old filmmaker and video artist Charles Atlas, speaking by Zoom on a recent afternoon. “My algorithm seems to go toward dance and drag queens. I’ve never seen an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race, but I feel like I know everyone that’s on there.”
Atlas was taking a break from working on his most ambitious piece to date, which is set to appear at Pioneer Works in Brooklyn this September. He’s been obsessed with filmed images of dancers at work for years, capturing the iconic experimental choreographer Merce Cunningham and others in a series of game-changing, if somewhat under-recognized, video pieces. And so it makes sense that he’s grown attached to TikTok, which seems to bring with it a new dance trend each week.
The Pioneer Works installation, titled The Mathematics of Consciousness, will involve a technically complex series of projections cast against a 100-foot-long brick wall punctuated by two rows of windows. Atlas doesn’t complete his pieces until just before they go on view, but the piece may ultimately include images representative of each stage of Atlas’s career: archival imagery of performers like Leigh Bowery and Cunningham, sequences of numbers that rapidly ascend, abstract imagery, and more. In that way, it could almost function like a career retrospective for Atlas, who’s never had one.
One rendering of the piece featured a brain that doubles and splits open. Another displayed eight TikToks of people shaking their hands and hips to Lizzo’s song “About Damn Time;” they were there as placeholders in a rendering of how the final piece would look. The Lizzo TikToks are examples of the way that filming dance has become far more democratized than it used to be, something that Atlas said he welcomes.
“When I first started making films and videos with dance, it was a very expensive proposition,” Atlas said. “You had to rent a camera. You got a space, you had to do lighting. I mean, it was really a big production. Now you take out your camera and do it. I love watching people dance, so that makes me very happy.”
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