Curated by Yesomi Umolu, Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University.
Installation shot of Gas Men & Globe courtesy the Eli and Edythe Broad Museum.
"...Cozier presents two recent single-channel videos, Gas Men and Globe (both 2014), that explore the presence and impact of multinational oil companies in various international locations. Filmed on Lake Michigan—a site that in recent years has witnessed repeated crude oil spills at BP’s Whiting plant in Indiana—these works address the politics of the global oil economy. In each video, men in business suits draw fuel pump nozzles and hoses like pistols, swinging them in the air in a manner reminiscent of cowboy-style rope tricks or the whip cracking of carnival performances. These figures’ actions play out in the staccato rhythm of a crude stop-motion animation, their standoff recalling a Spaghetti Western set to a haunting soundtrack of sitar chords, live vocals, and sirens. In this take on what he calls “B-movie male heroic spectacle,” Cozier calls attention to the power dynamics of an economic paradigm that has grave effects on seemingly anonymous places, lives, and histories...". See more here
Very Ironic, especially now. A detail from my "Tropical Night" series (2005 - ongoing) represented Trinidad in a project for the Pan Am/Parapan Games. The image “Afro-Ophelia” makes a link between the Pre-Raphaelite image of Ophelia in my Nelson Reader, the book through which formal English was conveyed to me as a child, and the front page images of the local dailies which showed the dead body of a young woman ( Beverly Jones ) who was part of a political group, called NUFF, ( the National Union of Freedom Fighters) in the 70's. I did not attempt to capture her likeness. Images of her are hard to find. I used a graphic poster like representation feeling more like a Pam Grier movie poster of that time. I often feel that this moment, to which we have developed an astonishing blind spot, may explain something of our current social predicament. The image was also in the Trinidad Guardian, of all places, a few weeks ago and an image symbolizing her was representing Trinidad on Lake Ontario and, if that is not enough, the project was called "Watercolour." ( image courtesy the Textile Museum of Canada )
Preview August 8 - August 10, 2014 - Miller Beach, Indiana
Derived from a recent series of drawings called The Arrest, and experimental collaborations, while in residence at North Western University, this video, tentatively titled Gas Men or Globe, (Globe being a popular cinema in Port of Spain), Christopher Cozier’s latest video installation investigates the ongoing environmental and sociopolitical challenges presented by oil economies. Read more here Exhibition Partners:Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago; Northwestern University’s Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities, co-sponsored by the Department of Art History, the Department of Communication Studies, the Center for Global Culture and Communication, and the Latin American & Caribbean Studies Program at Northwestern University, Evanston; Miller Beach Arts and Creative District. Special thanks to Evan Boris, Tom Burke, Ann E. Rose.
Christopher Cozier is an artist and writer living and working in Trinidad. A 2013 Prince Claus Award laureate, he has participated in a number of exhibitions focused upon contemporary art in the Caribbean and internationally. Since 1989 he has published a range of essays in a number of catalogues and journals. The artist was a SITE Santa Fe - SITE lines Satellite Curatorial Advisor for 2014.
Gas Men, a recent video, developed during a residency at The Kaplan Institute in 2014 was screened by Monique Meloche Gallery , and opens at the Eli and Edythe Broad Museum in June 2015. Cozier was part of the editorial collective of Small Axe, A Caribbean Journal of Criticism (1998-2010). The artist has been an editorial adviser to BOMB magazine for their Americas issues (Winter, 2003, 2004 & 2005). The artist is a Senior Research Fellow at the Academy of The University of Trinidad & Tobago (UTT) and was Artist-in-Residence at Dartmouth College during the Fall of 2007 . A documentary produced by Canadian video artist and writer, Richard Fung entitled Uncomfortable: the Art of Christopher Cozier( 2006). He was a co-curator of the exhibition Paramaribo Span which opened in 2010 and its related blog and publication. He was also a co-curator of "Wrestling with the Image" which opened in 2011 and one of the administrators of Alice Yard.