For the final installment of Meet the Makers on July 25th, in tandem with the current exhibition, “Gretchen Bender: So Much Deathless“, Red Bull Arts New York hosts artist and filmmaker, Shu Lea Cheang, in conversation with guests Barbara London, Jennifer Fong, Christian Haye, and Nelini Stamp.
Through a series of one-on-one conversations Cheang describes as “lunch dates,”the artists describes these encounters as, “less formal than perhaps a dinner occasion.” Cheang and her guests: among whom are friends, partners, collaborators, and curators, parse through her archive and upcoming projects. These conversations cover her formative years in New York City’s East Village, which she titles Homestead Cyberspace,post-net-crash, and Enter the BioNet.
Discussed are her films which occupy her self-crafted science fiction genre within new queer cinema, from which emerged descriptors “eco-cybernoia” (FRESH KILL, Fresh Kills (1994), and “sci-fi cypherpunk” Fluidø (2017). Repeatedly, the conversation turns to restoration in regards to past film projects, to which Cheang jokingly remarks on her own imperfect memory, and the increasingly prevalent theme of restoration coinciding with age.
The evening concluded with a short preview of an upcoming film project, as well as an outline of future events presenting Cheang’s work, which include a screening of FRESH KILL (35mm, 1994) at Asia Society on July 26th, and a Rockaway Beach performance of Garlic=RichAir (creative time 2002, rhizome net art anthology 2019) on July 28th
Topical Cream was honored to celebrate the life and legacy of Gretchen Bender at Red Bull Arts.
Provisions were provided by Spiral Theory Test Kitchen, a self-described queer cooking collective helmed by artists Precious Okoyomon’s, Bobbi Salvör Menuez, Quori Theodor, MK, and Kaijja Xiao.
The gathering was to celebrate the video artists legacy IRL and to allow New York artists and writers who might not be familiar with her work the opportunity to be present in her space. Like the best underground dinner parties, the guest of honor was unannounced — Bart, Precious Okoyomon’s pet eel sat perched at the end of the table, slowly swimming back and forth as friends and family got to know each other better.
Guests sat next to Gretchen Bender’s “People in Pain,” 1988 a large installation composed of black vinyl and blue neon which features every movie title which was in production during a six month period between 1987-1988.
Spiral Theory Test Kitchen served dusted red snapper, and the guests ended the night with Loquat Panna Cotta with honey ants and orchid sugar served in a Red Bull can.
The final event of the evening was a private screening of Bender’s massive installation “Total Recall.”