Artist-in-Residence
Craig Baldwin
Residency April-November 2000


"MY IDEA IS TO EMBRACE THE NOISE OF POP CULTURE AND MAKE ART OUT OF IT."--CRAIG BALDWIN

Filmmaker Craig Baldwin is the first to admit that he's something of a folk artist. Despite impressive art-world credentials (he studied under Bruce Conner in the 1980s, won the 1997 Alpert Award in the Arts, and will be featured in the Whitney Biennial this spring), he prefers to use inexpensive, low-tech equipment for his work, such as 8mm cameras, kinescopes, and manual editing machines. He culls and then recontextualizes everyday footage from airwaves and archives--TV newscasts, 1950s sci-fi movies, schlocky instructional filmstrips, and government propaganda films. Baldwin's unabashed populist tendencies are apparent in his films; Sonic Outlaws (1995) and Spectres of the Spectrum (1999) repeat a common theme of reclaiming media for the little guy. His appearance as guest panelist on April 8 at the Sins of Change: Media Arts in Transition, Again conference signals the beginning of his seven-month residency at the Walker, during which he'll bring his democratic--and decidedly subversive--media ethic to Minneapolis for a variety of activities.

In Sonic Outlaws, the art-rock band Negativland coins the phrase "culture jamming"--an apt moniker for Baldwin's work--and defines it as capturing the "corporately controlled subjects of the one-way media barrage, reorganizing them to be a comment upon themselves, and spitting them back into the barrage for cultural consideration." In a two-week workshop in June, the filmmaker will lead a culture-jamming project for teens, overseeing the creation of either an altered billboard or a found-footage film. He'll also begin planning a three-day film/video installation at The Soap Factory to be held in October. Scheduled to coincide with the National Alliance of Media Arts and Culture (NAMAC) conference, the event will be curated by Baldwin in cooperation with the Walker Art Center Teen Arts Council (WACTAC) and area media organizations. The challenge will be in creatively projecting the selected works. Modeled after the July 4 Multiplex event at The Soap Factory (which Baldwin will attend this year), the installation will seek to revitalize the movie-viewing experience, which the filmmaker thinks has literally gone flat. "When you watch it on a flat screen you just read data," he said in a 1998 interview. "We need to reclaim its plastic quality, project it on the walls, on ceilings, bounce it off mirrors, show two at a time, superimpose it, interact with it, create sculpture, bring the 'project' back into it."



THIS RESIDENCE IS MADE POSSIBLE BY GENEROUS SUPPORT FROM THE PEW CHARITABLE TRUSTS AND THE LILA WALLACE-READER'S DIGEST FUND.