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Tonight’s screening is the second event of A Non-Zero-Sum Game: Sports, Art and the Moving Image, a series of exhibitions, screenings and discussions launching, and part of, INCITE: Sports, with San Francisco events taking place January 24-March 3. Details on additional programs available here.
The Nation’s Finest celebrates the publication of the latest issue of INCITE: Journal of Experimental Media—300+ pages examining the intersection of sports, spectacle, popular culture, experimental media and performance—available for sale at the screening and online [coming soon!]. This program surveys five decades of artists’ video and film focusing on sports (including perspectives across gender, racial and national identities) while deconstructing the athlete body and its use for national, political and social agendas. SCREENING: How Great You Are O Son of the Desert!, Part I (2013) by Haig Aivazian; demonstrating the imaginary body (2015) by interdisciplinary collective I AM A BOYS CHOIR; Putting the Balls Away (2008) by Tara Mateik; Lake Placid, ‘80 (1980) by Nam June Paik; The Nation’s Finest (1990) by Keith Piper; Olympiad (1971) by Lillian Schwartz and more.
On Sports: “For millennia, sports have been intrinsic to daily life, physical well-being, education, civic identity, and social harmony. That presence has expanded in the last century to occupy entire sections of newspapers and news hours, in turn begetting 24-hour television channels, talk radio stations, and endless punditry devoted to sports. Over the past decade, sports have assumed an even larger, more multidimensional place in our culture, advancing further into the fields of contemporary film, art and media.
“Just as sport has been embraced by artists across mediums and genres, so too has it been taken up as an object of study, broadly; traversing physical education, communication studies, the social sciences, and more recently, the humanities. A new academic subfield—critical sport studies—has emerged in response to this swell of cross-disciplinary research. As a result, the traditional schisms, and oftentimes, antagonisms between sports performance and spectatorship, creative production and scholarly activity, have been blurred. Sports are now readily assimilated into pop culture, celebrity culture, music and fashion trends. Meanwhile, ancillary aspects of sports have nearly eclipsed the sports themselves. In the information age, fans are the new experts and athletes are objectified as data, becoming sets of statistical profiles and avatars.
“Considering these developments, the INCITE Sports issue asks: What can the media arts provide sport studies? And conversely, how might theorizations of sport enrich nontraditional approaches to representing and examining athletics? In the era of instant analysis, flashy data visualization, Twitter journalism, the rumor mill, Insiders, the superfan and the hot take, experimental media offers a critical tool for addressing deeper meanings, concerns, connections, contradictions, and ideologies. (Astria Suparak & Brett Kashmere: “Introduction—A Non-Zero-Sum Game.” INCITE Vol. 7/8: Sports)
Image Credit: The Nation’s Finest (1990) by Keith Piper