On the occasion of Projects 106: Martine Syms, the artist’s first solo museum show in the US, Modern Mondays presents six of Syms’s single-channel moving image works. This program will focus on the development of Syms’s cinematic work, culminating in the debut theatrical presentation of her first feature film, Incense Sweaters & Ice (2017), the centerpiece of the Projects 106 installation.
These works trace Syms’s decade-long investigation of how identity production and image production intertwine in contemporary life, with high production values widely accessible and everyone acutely aware of the potential for their own imaging, whether through the lens of social media or surveillance. Using both original and found imagery, Syms tests the limits of lived experience, showing how we embed and incorporate images or experiences into ourselves that aren’t directly our own, and are instead encountered through mass culture. Including references ranging from popular TV sitcoms like Living Single to MTV’s Real World to Edwin S. Porter’s early 1907 short film Laughing Gas, Syms’s videos and performances look closely at representations of blackness, and their relationship to self, narrative, vernacular, feminist thought, and activist traditions.
Along with Incense Sweaters & Ice, the program will include My Only Idol Is Reality (2007, 7:06), Lessons (2014–16, 15:00), A Pilot for a Show About Nowhere (2015, 24:29), Memory Palace (2015, 2:06), Notes on Gesture (2015, 10:30) and She Mad: Laughing Gas (2016, 7:00). Following the screening, Syms will join a conversation with some of her collaborators, moderated by Jocelyn Miller, Curatorial Associate, MoMA PS1.