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 was featured in the 2000 Whitney Biennial), 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 the 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 and Spectres of the Spectrum repeat a common theme of reclaiming media for the little guy. His appearance as guest panelist at the Walker's Sins of Change: Media Arts in Transition, Again conference in April signaled the beginning of his seven-month residency at the museum, during which he'll bring his democratic--and decidedly subversive--media ethic to Minneapolis for a variety of activities.
In a two-week workshop in June, he led a culture-jamming project for teens, overseeing the creation of found-footage films. He also began planning a free film/video installation at No Name Exhibitions@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 what Baldwin sees as a film-viewing experience that 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."
CRAIG BALDWIN'S RESIDENCY IS MADE POSSIBLE BY GENEROUS SUPPORT FROM THE LILA WALLACE READER'S-DIGEST FUND AND THE PEW CHARITABLE TRUSTS. LOCAL ASSISTANCE PROVIDED BY THE MINNEAPOLIS COLLEGE OF ART AND DESIGN (MCAD) AND MIDWEST MEDIA ARTISTS ACCESS CENTER (MMAAC).