1. These “speaking portraits” put a fundamental (but perhaps ultimately endless) inquiry before people with a developed interest in myth, a request in fact to say what it is. Recorded in dialogue with presenters at the 2004 Mythic Journeys Conference & Performance Festival, this work was produced in collaboration with the Mythic Imagination Institute in Atlanta, Georgia.

    "myth is" is part of a larger project of speaking portraits, "art is," in which 800 artists (all kinds, including sculptors, painters, filmmakers, video artists, poets, composers, performance artists, and so on) have been recorded on video in eleven countries and twenty-three languages in the first six years. The result is an ongoing and constantly changing work called "art is" or "music is" or "poetry is" (now including "myth is" and "peace is"), which has been exhibited internationally, primarily as installations, screened either on projection screen or on one or more monitors. One difference in "art is" and "music is" is that the participants are not only artist/poets/musicians et al., but also mythographers, scholars, storytellers, etc. whose lives engage myth in a fundamental way.

    Overall, "art is" develops an open-ended video art work in portraiture that registers artists in the act of saying what "art" (or any of the other charged abstractions) is. It is presented as a continuous series of speaking faces viewed up close, one at a time, with no overlaps or special effects, filmed “on site” under many circumstances. One unadorned face at a time fills the image area. The framing effectively removes most social indicators (hair style, clothing, context, etc.). While many famous individuals are included, they are mixed with lesser known ones. Identification of the person is indicated only well into each "speaking portrait" in order to keep the viewer's attention focused on the act of saying what art is rather than on the identity of the speaker. The format is primarily single channel video, suitable for viewing as projection or on monitor, yet it aims as well at installation and performance contexts, where each format emphasizes different orders of experience within a singular matrix. [More at quasha.com.]

    # vimeo.com/9734959 Uploaded 659 Plays 1 Comment
  2. "art is / East Africa" (29 min. 39 sec.) is a collaboration between George Quasha and Mamta Murthy for GQ's ongoing work called "art is / poetry is / music is" and represented by several volumes here: see quasha.com for details and full context. Funded in part by GQ's 2006 Guggenheim Fellowship, Mamta Murthy traveled and filmed in East Africa and in 2008 made the first edit in Mumbai (Bombay). This further edit includes these 26 artists:

    Phillda Njau, photographer, musician (Nairobi); Bantu Mwaura, poet, writer (Kenya); Mumbi Kaigwa, actor (Nairobi); Andrew Njoroge, photographer, African colors (Nairobi); John Washika, acrobat, Sarakasi Trust (Nairobi); Joy Mboya, performer, arts administrator (Nairobi); Judy Kibenga, filmmaker (Nairobi); Farouque Abdella, textile/couture (Zanzibar); Kevin Odour, sculptor (Nairobi); Gakunju Kaigwa, sculptor (Nairobi); Tony Mboyo, puppeteer, (Kibera, Nairobi), Jack Omondi, puppeteer (Nairobi); Dayo Forster, writer (Gambia-Kenya); Elimo Njau, painter, sculptor, Paayapaa Gallery founder (Nairobi); Kuldeep Sondhi, playwright, (Mombasa, Kenya); Robert Ngoroma, dancer, musician (Bogamoyo, Tanzania); Aimee Ongeso Akinyi, poet, student (Nairobi); Joel Godiah, actor/director, teacher (Mombasa, Kenya); Tabitha Wa Thuku, visual artist, student (Nairobi); Caroline Nderitu, performance-poet (Nairobi); Elizabeth Orchardson Mazmi, visual artist, teacher (Nairobi); Jhiko Man, afro-reggae musician, Rastafarian (Zanzibar); Zein L’Abdin, Taraab music legend (Mombasa); Miriam Syowia Kyambi, visual artist (Nairobi); Patrick Mukabi, visual artist (Nairobi); Justus Kyalo, visual artist, dancer (Nairobi)

    Note: artists speaking only Swahili have not be included in this version but will appear in a separate piece.

    # vimeo.com/19493544 Uploaded 517 Plays 0 Comments
  3. art is / India: Speaking Portraits (47 min 55 sec) (2008/2012), is a collaboration between George Quasha and Mamta Murthy, filmed mainly in Mumbai and Delhi (plus Geneva, Switzerland and Wroclaw, Poland), presenting 24 Indian artists (painters, filmmakers, installation artists, photographers, performance artists, actors, directors, writers, poets, etc.) saying what, in their view, art is. (Vol. I, version 2)

    Part of Quasha’s ongoing work called “art is / poetry is / music is” for which he has filmed over a thousand artists of all kinds in 11 countries (represented by several volumes at quasha.com), it was funded in part by Quasha’s 2006 Guggenheim Fellowship.

    ARTISTS IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE:

    Inder Salim, visual, performance artist
    Shilpa Gupta, visual artist
    Amar Kanwar, filmmaker
    Arundhathi Subramaniam, poet, writer
    Arun Kumar HG, visual artist
    Mamta Murthy, filmmaker
    Ranbir Kaleka, visual artist
    Anuradha Kapur, theatre director
    Vikram Kapadia, theatre
    Konkona Sen-Sharma, film actress
    Shimit Amin, film director
    Manisha Gera Baswani, painter
    Kiran Nagarkar, writer
    Monica Narula, visual artist
    Ram Rahman, photographer
    Vivan Sundaram, visual artist
    Sheba Chhachhi, visual artist
    Amitabh Kumar, visual artist
    Anupam Sud, print maker
    Rana Dasgupta, writer
    Shakuntala Kulkarni, visual artist
    Viswanadhan, painter
    A Ramachandran, painter
    Tyeb Mehta, painter

    # vimeo.com/52033504 Uploaded 648 Plays 0 Comments
  4. in 3 parts comprising the following poets in order of appearance:

    Part 1

    Mark Mirsky, Michael McClure, Maryrose Larkin, Peter Lamborn Wilson, Robert Kelly, Elaine Equi, Charles Amirkhanian, Charles Stein, Nancy Kuhl, Maria Damon, Vyt Bakaitis, Debrah Morkun, Eleni Stecopoulos, Lamont Brown Steptoe, Nada Gordon, Sam Truitt, Elizabeth Bryant, Carlos Soto-Roman, Jena Osman, Vincent Katz, Tinker Greene, Gerard Malanga, Alana Siegel, Jeffrey Robinson, Dorota Czerner, Barbara Blatner, Kenneth Irby

    Part 2:
    Jonas Mekas, Don Byrd, Jennifer Scappettone, Mark Mirsky, Burt Kimmelman, Hank Lazer, Sara Larsen, Lori Anderson Moseman, Ryan Eckes, Geof Huth, Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Chris Funkhouser, Elaine Equi, Anna Moschovakis, Clark Coolidge, Jesse Glass, Rochelle Owens, Jerome Sala, David Brazil, Richard Deming, Rae Armantrout, Jacques Roubaud, Maureen Thorson, Joan Murray, Anselm Berrigan, David Wolach, Peter Cook & Kenny Lerner

    Part 3
    Michael McClure, Amy Catanzano, Basil King, Jennifer Bartlett, Nancy Frye Huth, Marilyn Stablein, Michael Slosek, Robert Mittenthal, Bob Perleman, Deborah Poe, Chris Piuma, Kimberly Lyons, Frank Sherlock, Rachel Levitsky, D. H. Melhem, CAConrad, Patricia Spears Jones, George Economou, Lynn Behrendt, Julian Semilian, Rebecca Wolff, Robert Kelly, Will Alexander, Alana Siegel, Barbara Kremen, Kythe Heller, Torben Ulrich

    # vimeo.com/129744982 Uploaded 1,178 Plays 0 Comments
  5. "art is / Madrid-Complutense" (52 min.) presents twenty-five artists--twenty-three studying as graduate students, one administrator, and one translator--at Complutense University of Madrid (Universidad Complutense de Madrid), where Gary Hill and I gave a workshop in 2006. I filmed all the artists in the course (including two auditors, the administrator, and the translator, also artists), each saying what art is in Spanish and in English (to the extent that they were able). This is one of many extensions of the art is project of which other volumes are posted here. [Video editing with Jenny Fox]

    In order of appearance: Fernando Baños, Miguel Ranilla, Lara García, Daniel Silvo, Esther Achaerandio, Patricia Sandonís, José L García, Miriam Rodríguez Lira, Irene Alvarez Sobresiela, María León Barquero, Esther Aldaz Brunetto, Ana Santibáñez Mtz. de Antoñama, Carlos Gil Carrasco, Sara Velázquez García, Ignacio Chávarri, Barbara Guillen Feltrer, Zuleyka Sánchez Bonilla, Guillermo Mora Pérez, Maggie Shirley, Penélope Thomaidi, Nazaret Vega Tasso, Stella Sestelo, Rosa María Sánchez Ossorio, Emma Ferguson, Blanca Fernandez.

    # vimeo.com/18811761 Uploaded 374 Plays 0 Comments

art is

George Quasha Plus

art is / music is / poetry is… what? Artist/poet George Quasha’s ongoing video work of “speaking portraits” puts this impossible, but inevitable, question before artists/composers/poets themselves, who let us in on their private space of art definition.…


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art is / music is / poetry is… what? Artist/poet George Quasha’s ongoing video work of “speaking portraits” puts this impossible, but inevitable, question before artists/composers/poets themselves, who let us in on their private space of art definition. Over 700 artists (all kinds of artists, including sculptors, painters, filmmakers, video artists, poets, composers, performance artists, and so on) have been recorded on video in eleven countries and twenty-three languages in the first six years. The result is an ongoing and constantly changing work called "art is" or "music is" or "poetry is" (now including "myth is" and "peace is"), which has been exhibited internationally, primarily as installations, screened either on projection screen or on one or more monitors.

More specifically, "art is" develops an open-ended video art work in portraiture that registers artists in the act of saying what art is. It is presented as a continuous series of speaking faces viewed up close, one at a time, with no overlaps or special effects, filmed “on site” under many circumstances. One unadorned face at a time fills the image area. The framing effectively removes most social indicators (hair style, clothing, context, etc.). While many famous artists are included, they are mixed with lesser known ones. Identification of the artist is indicated only at the end of each "speaking portrait" in order to keep the viewer's attention focused on the act of saying what art is rather than on the identity of the speaker. The format is primarily single channel video, suitable for viewing as projection or on monitor, yet it aims as well at installation and performance contexts, where each format emphasizes different orders of experience within a singular matrix. more at quasha.com.

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