May 1 – June 5, 1999
Scott Reeder is interested in reexamining the everyday, in finding the extraordinary in the ordinary. He is engaged in an ongoing experiment to encourage reconsideration of images familiar and mundane. Reeder has created a quasi-video data bank comprised of a growing archive of video tape loops. Like files in an image bank, each tape records a unique image or set of images. For example, one tape consists of clips of predatory wild animals seeking prey; another is an extreme close-up of a computer-screen clock; a third is a series of images excerpted from film and television of people reading (or at least consulting texts). Each tape contains images not identical, but of the same grouping.
In his untitled video installation for Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Reeder juxtaposed three monitors, each playing found footage from his personal archive with images minimally altered to show the potential of familiar scenes: “Beeping Nature” plays on the first monitor (reading left to right), “Slow Newhart” (an episode of “The Bob Newhart Show” in slow-motion, accompanied by Chopin) plays on the center monitor, and “Afterlife” (which is silent) plays on the third monitor.
The soundtracks tend to offer a certain humming, Buddhist chanting quality to the images, while often having no apparent relationship whatsoever. These mixes create fluidity or melodic rhythms which might never be noticed/heard/picked up. In “Beeping Nature,” idyllic images of bubbling brooks, dripping icicles, and sun-dappled leaves are accompanied by a metronomic, electronic, utterly “unnatural” beep.
Unlike other contemporary video strategies which rely on extensive special effects to obfuscate the original source material, Reeder’s concerns are in the potential to transform common images with as little manipulation as possible. His adaptations of found images are extremely simple, consisting of unlikely combinations of sound and image and the use of slow motion and extreme close-ups. His is a subtle and quiet recontextualizing that encourage the viewer, with as little artifice as possible, to actually look at what might elsewhere be overlooked.
The ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus enjoyed the site of battle from a distance because he found beauty in the image of sunlight glinting from flashing swords of warriors. Up close, he detested war, with its sights, sounds and smells of violence and decay offending his senses. Reeder focuses on how shifting one’s perspective of or distance to an image, however common or familiar, can result in a completely different understanding or perception of it. Images transcend their commonalty and take the viewer to a higher meditative or spiritual state. This meditation conveys how ideas connect and become interchangeable when a viewer reads the carefully planned chaos of images.
Also a painter, Reeder has had shows in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Chicago, and at Pat Hearn Gallery in New York.