ExhibitionsPrevious Exhibitions

Christopher P. McManus
one of us
September 6 - 29, 2013

From Christopher:

A few years ago, I went to a dinner party. I only knew the other guests well enough to know that most had cool, creative jobs and interests. In conversation, I made a corny joke that I would like to be an astronaut who fights aliens. One of the partygoers responded, “You’re one of us,” and went for a high five. The moment sticks with me. While acceptance was nice, I was bothered by what “you’re one of us,” implies – inclusion but also exclusivity.

The tension between inclusion and exclusion in popular culture is a source of perennial fascination for me. Pop culture is nothing if not tribe-making. It works because it is simultaneously generic while claiming signature style. For this show, I made five new works of video, animation, and sculpture that play with themes of inclusion and exclusion.

The first sculpture is called Cock Block. Its genitals made out of paper mache and acrylic paint. It both greets and impedes visitors at the entrance to the gallery. It’s a visual pun that aims to immediately engage viewers. Visitors only need to judge the basic joke of a pun, no other reference necessary, in order to decide whether or not to participate in the rest of the show.

The video work is called I Do Like. It’s made from an appropriated Chief Keef video from YouTube. I’ve rotoscoped myself into the background, to include myself with Chief Keef’s crew.

The second sculpture is called The Internet and it’s interactive! It’s a large paper mache monster with its arm extended and two detached hands lying on the floor. The arm has a hole at the end of it where one of two hands can be inserted. One hand is giving the thumbs up and the other is flipping the middle finger. While the Internet seems to provide endless source material, most of the content I run into can be reduced to either welcoming or alienating, beneficial or time wasting. Thus, gallery visitors can choose to insert one of the two hand signals into the arm socket of the sculpture. The participant’s decision affects what other viewers in the gallery will see and how they will be welcomed into the space. One of the animations projected on the wall, Instructions to The Internet, instructs viewers on how to use The Internet.

The last piece is an animation that alternates with Instructions to The Internet. The piece is called Joan, and features a large lady’s disembodied head playing the recorder. She is a preview of a longer animation piece I’m currently working on. I’ve included it in the show, but it has nothing to do with this show.