Andrew Norman Wilson b. 1983
Uncertainty Seminars (2014)
“My mind’s telling me no, but my body’s telling me yes.”
This is belted over the title card, so we are ready for a phenomenological pretzel. THINKING scrolls across the frame several times during the video, always a frustrating reminder of how nerve-wracking it can be. Later, participating in a guided meditation precludes watching CLOSE YOUR EYES become DOSE YOUR FACE on screen. Do we have to choose? Do we have a choice? All the cues are aimed at a viewer, but coming from corporate aesthetics and psychoanalysis they can perpetuate themselves without reality. There are Powerpoints (and drugs, which you go on to make the Powerpoints) whose codes slip from perfunctory to impertinent to nonsensical as they grow more poetic. That says something about the perseverance of the human spirit! The movie within a movie is a Chow Chow drama. Freud’s Chow Chow grew disgusted by her master’s face as it rotted from cigars. “Lack of security defines our lives” is said once, then again with the Pavlovian plinking of the American Beauty theme, and somewhere a millennial’s dreams died.
~ Kevin McGarry
"The video starts with R. Kelly’s voice singing, ‘My mind’s telling me no, but my body’s telling me yes’ – the opening line of his 1994 song ‘Bump n’ Grind’ – while the work’s title, The Uncertainty Seminars, is spelled out in pale pink, before fading away again, absorbed by a rosy background. A dog barks. The song stops. A ‘Table of Contents’ appears on a new, raspberry-pink background: Mission, Motivations, Principles, Visualization, Methods. A bell rings; the word ‘THINKING’ runs across the screen. A Siri-esque voice proclaims: ‘Art, the privileged place of experimentation for the precariousness of life, language and labour. We form amorphous clusters that make up an international network. Our work is pushed forward into the immensurability of value in relation to time.’ The subject is uncertain and only demarcated by age: ‘We are young creative and talented. We don’t know exactly what we’re going to do and how we’re going to make a living. Lack of security defines our lives.’
Could technology open a way to self-knowledge and peace of mind, instead of merely sedating our fears? New York-based Andrew Norman Wilson’s video The Uncertainty Seminars(2013–ongoing) – a work-in-progress – tries to answer the question by merging the language of corporate aesthetics and self-help seminars (PowerPoint presentations, candy colours, motivational slogans) with the ABC of post-digital aesthetics (the uncertain divide between mind and body, perception and reality, images and objects). And with a good deal of irony, thankfully."
~Barbara Casavecchia, Frieze