Cooper Battersby and Emily Vey Duke

21 October 2004 - 27 November 2004
Opening Reception 21 October 2004 8pm

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Curious About Existence

Episodic in nature, Curious About Existence reacts ultimately against an uninspired but prevailing acceptance of moral terms. It begins with a song of worship, an ode to the looming nastiness of our organic existence. A celebration of disorder and entropy, the opening song seems borne of a curiosity about the possibilities of joy and freedom. In a more lighthearted segment, a squirrel and beaver converse about how everybody feels bad a lot of the time, which is compounded by the stupid things they do as a result. These stupid things are more eloquently characterized by Richard Wagner’s wife, Cosima, in excerpts from her letters to Nietzsche. “Treat your impulses as a comedy that wants to entertain you, not a doctrine to be followed,” she writes. By enjoying the spectacle of the river creatures’ conversation, we are guided through another chapter of anxiety about shame with the opportunity for impunity.

-Jennifer Hsu

Cooper Battersby and Emily Vey Duke have been working collaboratively since June 1994. They work in printed matter, installation, curation, and sound, but their primary practice is the production of single-channel video. Their work has been exhibited in galleries and at festivals in North and South America and throughout Europe, including the Walker Center (Minneapolis), The Banff Centre (Banff), The Vancouver Art Gallery (Vancouver), YYZ (Toronto), The Renaissance Society (Chicago), The New York Video Festival (NYC), The European Media Arts Festival (Osnabruck), Impakt (Utrecht), and The Images Festival (Toronto). Their tape Being Fucked Up (2000) has been awarded prizes from film festivals in Switzerland, Germany, and the USA. Bad Ideas for Paradise (2002) was purchased for broadcast by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and for the libraries at Harvard and Princeton, and has won prizes from the NYExpo (NYC) and the Onion City Festival (Chicago).

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