Screening and Artist Talk

Stanya Kahn @ EAI

EAI is pleased to present a screening and conversation with Stanya Kahn, whose video works draw on the artist's interdisciplinary approach to performance, filmmaking, writing and sound design. A selection of Kahn's videos, including It's Cool, I'm Good (2010, 35:27 min), Arms Are Overrated (2012, 11:36 min), For the Birds (2013, 4:38 min), and a trailer for her new feature, Don't Go Back to Sleep (2014, 4:14 min), will be followed by a conversation between Kahn and critic and curator Ed Halter.


Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

6:30 pm

Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI)
535 West 22nd Street, 5th floor
New York, NY 10011

Admission $ 7.00 / Students $ 5.00

Free for EAI Members:


Stanya Kahn's solo and collaborative work mines the psychological landscape of America— particularly Los Angeles, where Kahn is based—as a distillation of the absurd and violent events that have ushered in the new millennium, seemingly already rushing towards an apocalyptic finale. With a comedian and poet's keen eye for observational detail, Kahn creates an uncanny vision of contemporary life that is at once comical and starkly poignant.

Kahn co-created a defining body of video during this century's aughts with artist Harry Dodge, many of which featured Kahn as the human equivalent of a malapropism: a woman in high-heels whacking weeds, a shifty character in a Viking helmet loitering in parking lots. These figures and their peculiar situations collided the influence of Samuel Beckett and avant-garde theater with the provocative caricatures of Richard Pryor and Lily Tomlin, and highlighted Dodge and Kahn's depiction of the California landscape as emblematic of a distressed society.

This theme is extended in Kahn's It's Cool, I'm Good, in which she appears as a mysteriously bandaged and ambiguous figure hobbling around the Salton Sea and Los Angeles on crutches. Economic collapse, urban tension and ecological demise are real and metaphorical contexts for the pressurized state of personal trauma, which is in this case represented symbolically by full-body injuries from a mysterious cause. Arms Are Overrated which stars two wads of paper in typical LA scenarios, including the aftermath of a bloody car wreck and the animation For the Birds are more abstract, but both complement the sardonic wit and existential yearning conveyed in It's Cool.

Most recently, Kahn completed Don't Go Back to Sleep (2014), a feature film project set in freshly built suburban developments in Kansas City, Missouri. In an essay commissioned by Grand Arts to accompany the presentation of the film, Ed Halter writes of the indelible atmosphere conjured by Kahn's visual and audio lexicon.


Stanya Kahn is an interdisciplinary media artist living and working in Los Angeles. She received a Bachelors degree in Interdisciplinary Social Science from San Francisco State University in 1992 and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Bard College in 2003. Kahn has received multiple awards including the Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art Grant in 2001; the Durfee Artist's Resource Grant in 2006, 2008, and 2009; a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2012; and was a 2014 Artadia Grant Awardee. Her solo performance works have toured nationally and internationally, and she was a founding member of the performance group/band CORE. Kahn's writings appear in journals and anthologies including Nothing Moments and Userlands, Soft Targets Journal of Art and Theory, LTTR and Movement Research. She teaches as adjunct faculty at UCLA, Cal Arts, UCSD, and has taught in the MFA programs at USC and UCLA.

Kahn's recent work Don?t Go Back to Sleep premiered at her solo exhibition at Susanne Vielmetter in Los Angeles and was also shown at her solo exhibition at Grand Arts in Kansas City in 2014. Kahn's work has been shown in numerous other venues, including the 2008 Whitney Biennial; 2010 California Biennial at the Orange County Museum of Art; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The New Museum, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Getty Center, Los Angeles; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Sundance Film Festival; Center for Art and Media, Karlsr├╝he; P.S.1 Center for Contemporary Art, New York; Contemporary Center for Art, Vilnius, Lithuania; MIT, Cambridge; ICA, Philadelphia; Kunstalle, Bonn, GDR; Brooklyn Museum, New York; The Hayward Gallery, London; and Elizabeth Dee Gallery, New York, among many others.


Ed Halter is a critic and curator living in New York City. He is a founder and director of Light Industry, a venue for film and electronic art in Brooklyn, New York, and his writing has appeared in Artforum, The Believer, Bookforum, Cinema Scope, frieze, Little Joe, Mousse, Rhizome, Triple Canopy, the Village Voice and elsewhere. He is a 2009 recipient of the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant, and his book From Sun Tzu to Xbox: War and Video Games was published in 2006. From 1995 to 2005, he programmed and oversaw the New York Underground Film Festival, and he has curated screenings and exhibitions at Artists Space, BAM, the Flaherty Film Seminar, the ICA, London, the Museum of Modern Art, the New Museum, PARTICIPANT INC., and Tate Modern, as well as the cinema for Greater New York 2010 at MoMA PS1 and the film and video program for the 2012 Whitney Biennial. He teaches in the Film and Electronic Arts department at Bard College, and is currently writing a critical history of contemporary experimental cinema in America.


About EAI

Founded in 1971, Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI) is one of the world's leading nonprofit resources for video art. A pioneering advocate for media art and artists, EAI fosters the creation, exhibition, distribution, and preservation of video art and digital art. EAI's core program is the distribution and preservation of a major collection of over 3,500 new and historical media works by artists. EAI's activities include viewing access, educational services, extensive online resources, and public programs such as artists' talks, exhibitions and panels. The Online Catalogue is a comprehensive resource on the artists and works in the EAI collection, and also features extensive materials on exhibiting, collecting and preserving media art:


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EAI's Public Programs are supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and are also made possible, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.


Press Release for Stanya Kahn event at EAI, Wednesday, July 30, 2014.