A single screen SD digital video projection, 3 min loop, with sound comprising a) one synchronised stereo music track, b) 2 mono loops producing an asynchronous stereo vocal track.
FIELD OF KNOWLEDGE:
Video installation situated in relation to appropriation strategies (Duchamp/Warhol) applied to mainstream cinema and music (Cornell/Birnbaum/Gordon). My acknowledged contribution to this knowledge is the transmission of meaningful content without reliance on existing filmic narratives:
‘The strong content lives and is transformed rather than functioning as reference pure and simple… It is important to stress this crafted opening to cathartic possibility and to the unconscious, because Dean has found means here that are primary, not borrowed from the films or music that are his materials.’ (Ian Hunt, Art Monthly no.279, September 2004)
I am also exploring the possibility of a contemporary religious art via these strategies; however, this contribution is less explicitly acknowledged, perhaps due to the absence of a shared language between contemporary art and religion (hence my current research interest in the question).
My methodology involves the appropriation of existing cultural material. I often work with small fragments of film (in this case a 2-second extract from ‘Terminator’), and audio samples (in this case formal phrases recorded from a Holocaust Day Memorial Service) which I treat with video effects using mathematical progressions. This technique is adapted from systems music (Steve Reich et al) and applied to video. I often work with colour cycles to register the loops, which in this work are time stretched at variable durations and composited. The work is installed to produce a non-narrative theatrical (cinematic) space.
‘Mark Dean’s grimly impressive video installation Christian Disco (Terminator), 2010, [is] Crafted from a three-second fragment of the 1984 film The Terminator, it shows a young man and woman dancing in a disco, but, characteristically, Dean’s edit desynchronizes and loops the footage, distorting its colors and corrupting the outlines of the swaying bodies. Luridly hued skeletal afterimages trail behind the dancers, occasionally catching up with them and sketching skulls onto their youthful, unconcerned faces.
“The work’s sound track cannibalizes the movie’s theme music with its clanging bells and driving beat, and stitches onto it two voices, one male and one female, recorded from a Holocaust Memorial Day service at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. … [I]t suggests both a gigantic danse macabre and hallucinatory video decor for a rave whose music plays on but whose celebrants have mysteriously disappeared. Hints of motifs from the Western Christian repertoire—apocalypse scenes or the horror-pornography of vanitas images—are grafted onto contemporary existential and political anxieties: nuclear proliferation, survivalism, or the effects of spectacular, hedonistic-escapist industrialized entertainment (such as the Christian derived Terminator narratives, or images of present-day clubbing and drug use). The viewer is left in the grip of contradictory urges: to saturate oneself in the hypnotic ambience, and to get the hell out as fast as possible.’ –from Rachel Withers, ‘Mark Dean’, Artforum, April 2011
Mark Dean: The Beginning of The End, Beaconsfield, London, 2010
A Fire In The Master’s House Is Set, Chapter, Cardiff, 2011
Vortex Revisions, Tate Britain, London, 2011
Paul Hamlyn Award for Artists 2009-12]
Rachel Withers, ‘Mark Dean’, Artforum, April 2011
Eliza Williams, ‘Mark Dean’, Art Monthly No. 343, February 2011
Helen Sumpter, ‘Mark Dean’, Time Out No 2108, January 13-19 2011
Luke Healey, ‘Unpicking the Social Language of Music’, Aesthetica, August 2011
Carly Ross, ‘A Fire in The Master’s House’, Creative Review, August 2011
‘A Fire In The Master’s House is Set’, Art Review, October 2011