In Medias Res, Femmebit x Feral File
In Medias Res, Femmebit x Feral File
Visit the exhibition here: https://feralfile.com/exhibitions/in-medias-res-u9p
Petra Cortright, JJStratford, Anna Luisa Petrisko, Casey Kauffmann, Ellie Pritts, Wednesday Kim, Eve-Lauryn LaFountain, Huntrezz Janos, Tuna Bora
The exhibition In Medias Res celebrates the contributions of feminist and post-cyberfeminist artists who live in the vibrant city of Los Angeles. The artworks in this exhibition reflect today’s digital uprootedness from time-based narratives of the silver screen to invoke liminal spaces of belonging. They challenge conventional definitions of cities and urban identities in relation to mainstream media, geography and land ownership. The exhibition takes its name from the narrative device “in medias res,” a Latin term defined as “into the midst of things.” Suggested by this phrase, the nine artists in the exhibition invite us to engage with the heart of their stories, wherein they explore their personal relationships to Los Angeles as they negotiate daily life in relation to Hollywood and society at large. “In medias res” is also a comment on the nature of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) themselves — media without a beginning, middle or end. As still or looping moving images, NFTs have a strange relationship to time, often depicting states of emergence as powerful vignettes. In this sense, NFTs might be considered “in the midst of things,” post-time and post-narrative, especially in contrast to the conventions of storytelling in film. This exhibition had its own beginning in the midst of a larger project, FEMMEBIT, which began in 2016 as a festival for LA artists that first took place at Human Resources LA in Chinatown. Since then, core membership has varied, but our goals have remained the same: we offer a platform to showcase female and non-binary artists’ distinctive voices and perspectives. As a grassroots movement, FEMMEBIT seeks to inject progressive viewpoints into digital futures. The artists selected for this exhibition are LA-based and LA-adjacent, with rigorous art practices in film, digital art and internet culture. These artists reinterpret the visual mainstays of Los Angeles from personal, multicultural, dreamlike, queer, decentralized, and other alternative histories to explain Los Angeles far better than Hollywood’s palm-dappled, hegemonic and heteronormative “Barbie”-esque ideations. The “Barbie” phenomenon is as much about Hollywood idealization as it is about a doll. American culture continues to express an urgent need for idyllic, dreamlike escapes, often in the face of global catastrophe. This exhibition pursues deeper implications at the heart of American mainstream culture to create alternative spaces of belonging in both the City of Angels and society at large. While FEMMEBIT has and will continue to provide in-person events, the pandemic recalibrated support for artists. In this sense, we see NFTs as a way to not only financially support art created by womxn, femmes and non-binaries, but also to aid in a general understanding of how to buy, display and properly represent digital art. NFTs remain a contentious sticking point for various art industry factions — and indeed, some of our own artists are outspoken critics, and provide us with insight we understand and respect. Nevertheless, NFTs have also created an intersection of digital spaces, of which ours has a place and is worthy of exploration. The artists of In Media Res have collectively chosen to create 33 pieces of art. As an “angel number” in numerology (the study of the occult significance of numbers), 33 is associated with artistic expression and creativity. This number is also linked to collaboration and the importance of community. As the City of Angels, LA comprises thriving artistic scenes fed by the TV and film industry, video game industry, art world and cult of celebrity. The wide range of mediums, tools and narrative expressions in this exhibition — including analog video, film, animation, AI, game engines and XR – reflect the artists’ navigation of LA’s various creative industries. Despite its competitive nature, LA is home to an extraordinary collaborative spirit, without which FEMMEBIT would not exist.