Bad Ideas for Paradise: Videos by Emily Vey Duke and Cooper Battersby

Posted by | Conversations at the Edge | Posted on | November 20, 2003

Thursday, November 20, 2003, 8pm

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Something funny is going on in the world of Duke and Battersby, the Canadian video artists who put themselves at the center of their collage-like explorations, which, nevertheless, are only marginally autobiographical.  Speaking shifty aphorisms, singing doleful folksongs and mingling with psycho-babbling and straight-talking cartoon animals, this self-described “sexually compatible collaborative duo” make a sly joke out of their own alienation.  In Curious About Existence (2003), a classroom of earnest students takes in a lecture about thermodynamics and dead human relationships; a couple stumbles around an introverted science fiction apartment in I Am a Conjuror (2003); skateboarding teenage boys and an unseen animal running along the ceiling tiles share the stage in The Fine Arts (2003); “My secrets are so boring.  I don’t believe in art or socialism” confesses a robot in Being Fucked Up (2001); the languorous protagonists are halfway to a three-way in the bogus Southern gothic Rapt and Happy (1998). Also includes: Bad Ideas for Paradise (2002) (Jim Trainor). 1998—2003, Duke and Battersby, Canada/USA, ca. 70 min, various formats.

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