Soft Rains

May 8, 2004 - June 12, 2004

Postmasters Gallery, New York, NY

(an exhibition of miniature movie sets for live robotic cinema) Postmasters Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of “Soft Rains,” the second New York solo exhibition of Jennifer and Kevin McCoy:. The show will be on view from May 8 until June 12, 2004. In this new series of works, the McCoys present electronic installations that examine narrative spaces. Extending from previous work of databased television and film material, the artists new work further explores the idea that thought, experience and memory are structured through genre and repetition. Entering the gallery, the viewer sees seven platforms each containing a tiny fragmentary film set. The platforms each embody images and sounds from a particular cinematic genre (the eighties slasher, the fifties melodrama, the sixties art film, etc). The platform/genres can each stand autonomously or together they produce a cinema-hopping amalgamation of themes and eras. Over 50 miniature video cameras and lights are suspended over the sets, creating a new filmic entity generated live. By exposing the film sets together with their film, the McCoys expose and yet retain the magic of movie-making. We can see the working parts of the apparatus, but are still won over by the whole. The sets themselves are an exploded spatial view of what one experiences temporally in film. The images are shot by several cameras simultaneously, each from its own angle, each focused on a different area of the set, and the multipart compound of images that these cameras together create is then sent to a computer running custom software that picks from the range of choices, “editing” it into the seven movies.The McCoys handle the passage of time by spreading “actors” and locations out in space to represent different moments, which are then intercut onscreen to suggest movement in time and place. Each story is told in six to ten shots. “A magical shift occurs: the instantaneous translation of a physical space distributed over a large horizontal field, in which everything exists simultaneously and three-dimensionally but without movement, into a flat visual space on a vertical screen, in which nothing has any physical depth and in which physical simultaneity is converted into temporal sequence and action...The McCoys' new piece “Soft Rains”, intricate and entertaining, is rooted in the history of film, which, however, with slice-and-dice aplomb, it chops into a new form: its cinematic syntax is parsed not by any familiar story-telling ambition but by the electronic synapses of the computer.” DAVID FRAENKEL from catalog essay for the "Soft Rains" exhibition at Sala Rekalde in Bilbao


Works Shown

Soft Rains #6: Suburban Horror

2003, Installation with video projection

Soft Rains consists of multiple platforms. Each platform represents a familiar cinematic archetype or genre rendered in miniature (60s Arthouse, 70s horror etc). The miniature ‘heroine’ of the work, clad in a distinctive red dress, is pictured in each of the sets. The live feed from each video camera is connected to a computer-based video sequencer, which switches from one camera to another to create an edited sequence appearing as a large scale projection. Suburban Horror uses images inspired by David Lynch's film Blue Velvet and by John Carpenter's Friday the 13th.

Traffic #1: Our Second Date

2004, Installation with video projection

Each of these tabletop miniature kinetic sculptures involves two linked narratives. In Second Date, one harrative is a small-scale recreation of a scene from the film Week End by Jean Luc Godard. The other is a tableau portraying the artists themselves in the act of watching the film on a small- screen: a live video feed of the cinematic recreation appears on their screen. In the gallery space, a video sequence cuts back and forth between images of the artists in their viewing environment and images of the film scene they are watching. All of the films involve car culture and its portrayal in cinema.

Soft Rains #3: Dinner Party

2003, Installation with video projection

Soft Rains consists of multiple platforms. Each platform represents a familiar cinematic archetype or genre rendered in miniature (60s Arthouse, 70s horror etc). The miniature ‘heroine’ of the work, clad in a distinctive red dress, is pictured in each of the sets. The live feed from each video camera is connected to a computer-based video sequencer, which switches from one camera to another to create an edited sequence appearing as a large scale projection. The dinner party platform is inspried by Bunuel's film Discreet Charm of the Bourgeosie.

Soft Rains #5: The Spa

2003, Installation with video projection

Soft Rains consists of multiple platforms. Each platform represents a familiar cinematic archetype or genre rendered in miniature (60s Arthouse, 70s horror etc). The miniature ‘heroine’ of the work, clad in a distinctive red dress, is pictured in each of the sets. The live feed from each video camera is connected to a computer-based video sequencer, which switches from one camera to another to create an edited sequence appearing as a large scale projection. This platform is based on Fellini's 8 1/2.

Soft Rains #4: The Loft

2003, Installation with video projection

Soft Rains consists of multiple platforms. Each platform represents a familiar cinematic archetype or genre rendered in miniature (60s Arthouse, 70s horror etc). The miniature ‘heroine’ of the work, clad in a distinctive red dress, is pictured in each of the sets. The live feed from each video camera is connected to a computer-based video sequencer, which switches from one camera to another to create an edited sequence appearing as a large scale projection. The Loft platform is based on scenes from the film An Unmarried Woman.

Soft Rains #2: Cabaret

2003, Installation with video projection

Soft Rains consists of multiple platforms. Each platform represents a familiar cinematic archetype or genre rendered in miniature (60s Arthouse, 70s horror etc). The miniature ‘heroine’ of the work, clad in a distinctive red dress, is pictured in each of the sets. The live feed from each video camera is connected to a computer-based video sequencer, which switches from one camera to another to create an edited sequence appearing as a large scale projection. The cabaret platform is inspired by the work of Douglas Sirk, specifically the film Imitation of Life.

Soft Rains #1: Beach Adventure

2003, Installation with video projection

Soft Rains consists of multiple platforms. Each platform represents a familiar cinematic archetype or genre rendered in miniature (60s Arthouse, 70s horror etc). The miniature ‘heroine’ of the work, clad in a distinctive red dress, is pictured in each of the sets. The live feed from each video camera is connected to a computer-based video sequencer, which switches from one camera to another to create an edited sequence appearing as a large scale projection. The beach adventure platform is insprired by the Sean Connery James Bond films.