Zachary Hutchinson

Chicago, IL USA

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My name is Zachary O’Dell Hutchinson and I was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan but I reside in Chicago, Illinois I recently graduated the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC).

My work is the result of a necessity to play, to collaborate with my friends as a way to cast a realm of possibility in which to act and choreograph our playing around identifying and scrambling the discursive signs of culture and identity that I am not comfortable inheriting. I come to art through costume making, make up, traditional theater, video making and an obsessive attention to image and transgressive affect.

Video is a phenomenon that began as an avant-garde exploration of philosophical models but has resulted in an entirely accessible mode of mediated self-imaging through loops of trickster contextualization- we are a youth culture of video psychopomps! In my work I am specifically interested in exploring different cultural modes of mediated self-construction. I’m interested in the way self-hood has become a total field of image loops with an excited whine of capitalism and how this finds expression at the level of the consumer through social media and platforms like YouTube. I want my work to be visually appealing, in that it catches the eye and creates an interest whereas the content in my work fluctuates between a level of criticality and ambivalence about the experience of self in late capitalist media society that confuses or alienates the viewer in a moment of self recognition. It is this pendulum of interest and abjection that scrambles the familiar insidious pull of the commodity. I like the idea of operating like a commodity in order to critique the commodity/desire language of media. I specifically parody and interrogate everyday forms of visual culture as operating and effecting at multiple levels of consciousness in the viewer. I find it critical to parody at the conscious level of aesthetic but also at the unconscious level of play, editing or choreography.

I am interested in what the absurd reveals about the everyday. For the most part my work looks familiar and alien utilizing and barrowing from a range of forces and influences both in look and affect:

After school specials, elementary school art, ring tone TV commercials, celebrity self help videos, children shows, drag queens, instructional videos, cartoons (the Simpsons, post 2000s Nickelodeon, anime, etc.) VHS cassette tapes, Makeup tutorials, spectacle theater, etc. etc.

The affect of these influences is directed towards teaching and coding behaviors in relationship to mainstream culture. It is important to me that my work operates with the same ends in mind but opposite in that I am hoping to decode behavior or point to the function of media as a behavioral coding strategy. My work circulates freely on the Internet it is my intention to maintain this ethic throughout my career. It is important that my work be accessible to the public if it is to have impact. If some tween queer in the middle of nowhere Utah, finds one of my videos late at night, on-line without there parents permission, and feels some sort of sense of community or comradery then I will have done my job.

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