Gautam Kansara, Untitled(Red All Over), May 15 – September 30, 2018
“Untitled(Red All Over)” is a collaboration between Gautam Kansara and his students from the Visual and Performing Arts Department of Manhattan College, New York City. The work addresses the massive amount of daily media that floods our feeds, and that continually overflows in every platform. In Kansara’s photographic and video practice The New York Times looms large as a source material, and is Kansara’s preferred choice for news. Headlines and front-pages from the analog and digital version of The New York Times are layered and overlapped, creating a collage of information that is somewhat impenetrable. The New York Times content which makes up most of the collage is punctuated by small printed screenshots of news from other sources, selected by student in Art 212, and representative of the myriad of sources out there for obtaining news and information. The collage and installation is indicative of the way information, through articles and headlines, is delivered and then forgotten or lost within the news rotation. Also exhibited is a video work which uses cyanotype image transfers of front-pages of The New York Times to create virtual ‘landscapes’ of news and information that is largely deteriorating and fading away, a reference to the temporary nature of stories as they rise and fall within the confines of the news cycle. Kansara’s love affair with The New York Times is in and of itself a complicated web of personal connections and history. (He was forced to read Op-Ed articles at age 12 and was quizzed by his father afterwards. He would be asked “What’s the thesis statement?” And would generally be unable to answer and wound up resenting the experience and the newspaper, only to adopt it in adult life as the portal he visits daily.) Kansara realizes that The New York Times, like most all publications, is flawed, beholden to the bias of its editorial board and that of its reporters. It’s profound pro-israel bias is unmistakeable and obviously problematic. One source is never enough to get to the facts of what actually happened in any given news story. By drawing on multiple sources, by selecting and analyzing and comparing those sources one might be able to arrive at a less biased truth, or perhaps even fact. But in all honesty who really has the time for this. This type analysis is in and of itself a full time job, and one can’t really trust any of the pundits to do the work for them. And so we remain largely ignorant of the facts but heavily influenced by the biased truth. We know so much about so little. Whatever we do know is suspect. And it will all be largely forgotten and replaced the next time I refresh my feed. Things are bad. So much going on. So dramatic. Oh did you see this? What were we talking about?