The Very Quick of the Word

Hessel Museum of Art, March 24 – May 26, 2013

Artist: Ken Okiishi

The Very Quick of the Word elaborates Ken Okiishi’s investigation into the relationship of externalized material memory to subject formation, through a new work commissioned for this exhibition. Multiple temporalities of memory-making and recording are overlaid in the gallery, as gestural painting rubs up against the television support surface of the delayed playback of home VHS tapes, whose magnetic particles have become significantly unstable. Transferred to a crude digitality of USB sticks and HD flatscreens, which play video in a way that becomes sticky against transfer-speeds that are indeed too slow for perfectly smooth high-volume data playback, a compressed memory emerges against both a degraded recording and a gestural, bodily one. A live feed to a camera gazing out the window at the sky enters the space like a singing void—a midday nap, a sleepy glance away— narcolepsy induced by the overcharged possibilities of networked, recorded life. A hiccup in the heart, a breakdown, staring at the sky. A way out that is also a total system failure… A way out that is also a permanent shut down… A way out as hovering.

This marks a site of indeterminacy, by way of a sort of immersive, prosthetic brain space.

Artist Biography

Ken Okiishi (born 1978) lives and works in New York and Berlin. Recent solo exhibitions at Mathew, Berlin (2012); Take Ninagwawa, Tokyo (2012); Alex Zachary,NY (2010); and Mehringdamm 72, Berlin (2010). His most recent moving-image work was produced during a residency at AP News, Zurich. His video work has been screened recently at Anthology Film Archives, New York; Evas Arche und der Feminist, Berlin; Kunsthalle Bern; the Kunstlerhaus Stuttgart; on; and a selection of video works can be viewed anytime on ubuweb. He has recently participated in group exhibitions at institutions including the ICA Philadelphia; White Columns, New York; GAMeC, Bergamo; Based in Berlin; and the Camden Arts Centre, London. In 2012 he co-curated “Looking Back: The White Columns Annual” with Nick Mauss. His work was featured in the 2011 Frieze Art Fair: Frieze Frame, and his texts have been featured in Artforum, May, and Bidoun.

Curated by Annie Godfrey Larmon


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