view (above) and still (below) from Urban Exquis
Urban Exquis is inspired both by the cadavre exquis method of poetry, in which a collection of writers blindly contribute isolated words that together compose a poem, and by Gordon Matta-Clark’s 1976 film City Slivers, in which the artist depicts New York City through a collection of masked views that fill only a portion of the film frame. Urban Exquis consists of several short video slivers that depict various urban environments. Like the word fragments in a cadaver exquis, each video sliver is composed by a different moviemaker, artist, architect, local student, or community resident. Like the images in City Slivers, each video sliver is a vertically-oriented fragment of a conventional video frame that defies the conventional widescreen format of cinema. In both method and form, the installation challenges many assumptions regarding the relevance of cinematic imagery to urban space. It is grounded in the serendipity of the city, as none of the participants were aware of the nature of the clips (or slivers) that would be adjacent to their own, and as different juxtapositions arise throughout the installation through the varying lengths of the clips, all of which loop at their own pace. Urban Exquis suggests that the identity of the city resides in simultaneity and adjacency, not in spatial and temporal unity. Like the city itself, it cannot be understood as a singular vision. It is fragmentary, elusive, frustrating, and (ultimately) beautiful in a way that eludes intention.

Click here for complete videos and views of the installations.

This first two versions of this collaborative video project was installed in First Street Green in Manhattan: first version August 2-3, 2012; second version October 13-14, 2012. Ciotat Studio ® curated and edited those projections. The overall objective was expand the agency of media production and exhibition in the public realm. Contributors to Urban Exquis I were John Bowman, Ryan Buyssens, Anastasia Krasnoslobodtseva, James Macgillivray, Carson Russell, Peter Soland, and Ciotat Studio. Contributors to Urban Exquis II were Seth Amman, Ryan Barkes, Houston Burnette, Nira Burstein, Jonathan Case, Ciotat Studio ®, William Cordes, David Dawes, Evan Danchenka, Billy Erhard, Andrew Federman, Scott Francisco, Patrick Gaither, Veronica Grant, Brittany Green, Trevor Hess, DJ Holman, Meredith Klein, Gota Miyazaki, Blake Montieth, Keihly Moore, Elliott Norelka, Kevin Pappa, William Philemon, Aaron Plewke, Marek Ranis, Satoshi Tsuchiyama, Helen Weselcouch.

First Street Green, a non-profit organization, hosted and sponsored the events.

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