Friday reception at Middlesex Community College for Paul Qaysi show
Middlesex Community College Pegasus Gallery
100 Training Hill Road, Middletown, 1-800-818-5501
Paul Qaysi: A Sea of Patterns in the Pegasus Gallery and The Niche (Pegasus Gallery is located within the library on the first floor of Chapman Hall)
Oct. 3—Nov. 1, 2012.
Opening Reception: Fri., Oct. 5, 1:30—3 p.m.
Press release from Middlesex Community College
In today’s anarchic media flux, governments and traditional media empires have lost much of their power to dictate what we see and believe. This erosion is the subject of Paul Qaysi’s recent work in which he scavenges, cuts, pastes and animates digital images from a variety of sources, interrogating the production of authority and truth.
The Arab Spring uprisings flared up with the aid of digital technologies and social media. Investigating these historic events in Actual Dots, Qaysi recycles, connects and dismantles official images of recently overthrown dictators. Portrait stills captured from YouTube are reduced to dot screens. The screens shift and dots enlarge, evoking newspapers, bullet holes and abstract painting. The more close-up the images of these corrupt leaders, the more meaningless they become. As the photos disintegrate, the floating dots form moiré patterns that briefly resemble Islamic tile designs, and we hear a multi-track sound collage of passionate crowds. By making a shorter version of the videos available for download as a screen saver, Qaysi invites viewers to look closer, participate and even celebrate in the corruption of these official images.
In "Drawdown," an official photo of armed U.S. marines exiting a destroyed building, the soldiers slowly melt before our eyes in animated layers–but the ruins behind them remain. Digitally isolating the soldiers, Qaysi animated a single frame. Primed by video games and film on how to react to this type of image, we expect sudden violence, but Qaysi elects a slow-burning approach that gives viewers time to think, time we usually do not spend before a single photo of this kind.
Attuned to temporal questions, Qaysi investigates the speed of world events, and our understanding of them and their long-term effects. He incites viewers to consider how we receive the news, what we choose to view, and the blurry line between information and entertainment. Paul Qaysi was born in 1963 in Baghdad, Iraq, and lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He received his B.F.A. in sculpture from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY and M.F.A. in Program in Advanced Photographic Studies from Bard College-International Center of Photography in New York, NY.