Visual Arts Program

Friday, September 7, 2012 — Friday, November 2, 2012

Emily Vey Duke & Cooper Battersby

Hopelessly Middle Aged

Emily Vey Duke and Cooper Battersby - <em>Hopelessly Middle Aged</em>
Emily Vey Duke and Cooper Battersby - <em>Hopelessly Middle Aged</em>
Emily Vey Duke and Cooper Battersby - <em>Hopelessly Middle Aged</em>
Emily Vey Duke and Cooper Battersby - <em>Hopelessly Middle Aged</em>
Emily Vey Duke and Cooper Battersby - <em>Hopelessly Middle Aged</em>
Emily Vey Duke and Cooper Battersby - <em>Hopelessly Middle Aged</em>
Emily Vey Duke and Cooper Battersby - <em>Hopelessly Middle Aged</em>

A Hallwalls Artist In Residence project, made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Opening Reception - Friday, September 7, 8:00 to 11:00 pm
Artists' Talk - Friday, September 7, 8:00 pm
Screening - Friday, October 12, 8:00 pm
Exhibition continues through November 2, 2012

From a short story of the same title, the artists have written: "People have children because they distract us from the knowledge that our From a short story of the same title, the artists have written: "People have children because they distract us from the knowledge that our life's work amounts at best to something minor, a marginal note in one of billions and billions of stories. Instead of dwelling on our irrelevance, we can be delighted by tiny toes. We can form our mouths into ohs and bees and ems for a purpose, not just to pass the time. At shitty middle-age, we are consumed by our children, overwhelmed by their needs and hopes and failures, but not yet swallowed by their defection to families of their own."

Emily Vey Duke and Cooper Battersby made use of their Hallwalls' residency opportunity to invite two additional artists—filmmaker Mike Hoolboom and sculptor/video artist Dani Leventhal—to join them in Lafayette, NY for a weeklong residency, producing new video work springboarding from their mutually-enabling states of middle-aged artistry. This will include new video work from Hoolboom and video and prints from Levanthal.

Key elements of the new exhibition from Duke and Battersby include a new video work entitled Here Is Everything that presents itself as a message from The Future, as narrated by a cat and a rabbit, spirit guides who explain that they've decided to speak to us via a contemporary art video because they understand this to be our highest form of communication. Their cheeky introduction, however, belies the complex set of ideas that fill the remainder of the film. Death, God, and attaining and maintaining a state of Grace are among the thematic strokes winding their way through the piece, rapturously illustrated with animation, still and video imagery.

It is a work that contains specific details about its themes, but sufficiently ambiguous and free of dogma, including religious dogma that, our futuristic visitors explain, is a vestigial leftover from an earlier phase of revolution. And while Death is an ever-present rumination, so are Redemption, Affirmation, and Possibility.

"Hopelessly middle aged" may, ultimately be true in many regards, a rueful condition toward which we're all headed. But it may also be a time of renewed clarity and purpose. Or so future animals suggest.

Cooper Battersby (b. 1971, Penticton British Columbia, Canada) and Emily Vey Duke (b. 1972, Halifax Nova Scotia, Canada) have been working collaboratively since 1994. They work in printed matter, installation, curation and sound, but their primary practice is the production of single-channel video. Their work has been exhibited in galleries and at festivals in North and South America and throughout Europe, including the Walker Center (Minneapolis), The Banff Centre (Banff), The Vancouver Art Gallery (Vancouver), YYZ (Toronto), The New York Video Festival (NYC), The European Media Arts Festival (Osnabruck), Impakt (Utrecht) and The Images Festival (Toronto). Their tape Being Fucked Up (2000) has been awarded prizes from film festivals in Switzerland, Germany and the USA. Bad Ideas for Paradise (2002) was purchased for broadcast by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and for the libraries at Harvard and Princeton, and has won prizes from the NYExpo (NYC) and the Onion City festival (Chicago). I am a Conjuror (2004) has received prizes from the Ann Arbor Film Festival and the Onion City Festival.

Emily Vey Duke received her BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, and completed her Masters at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She then worked for a year as Artistic Director at the Khyber Centre for the Arts in Halifax, NS.

Cooper Battersby received his diploma in computer programming at Okanagan College, and completed his Masters at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He was the recipient of a Canada Council Production Grant in 2001. Duke and Battersby are currently teaching at Syracuse University in Central New York.

Mike Hoolboom is a Canadian artist working in film and video. He has made over fifty films and videos, though most have been withdrawn from circulation, approximately a dozen remain on view. His work has appeared in over four hundred festivals, garnering thirty awards. He has been granted the Tom Berner Award for community service and two lifetime achievement awards, the first from the city of Toronto, and the second from the Mediawave Festival in Hungary.

He has enjoyed retrospectives of his work at the Images Festival (Toronto), Visions du Reel (Switzerland), Cork International Festival (Ireland), Cinema de Balie (Amsterdam), Mediawave Festival (Hungary), Impakt Festival (Holland), Vila do Conde Festival (Portugal), Jihlava Documentary Festival (Czech Republic), Stuttgarter Filmwinter (Germany), Musée des Beaux-Arts de Caen (France), Sixpack Film (Vienna), the Buenos Aires International Festival (Argentina), and A Million Different Loves Festival in Poland.

He is a founding member of the Pleasure Dome screening collective and has worked as the artistic director of the Images Festival and as the experimental film co-ordinator at Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre.

Mike Hoolboom has published a pair of interview books with Canadian media artists, Practical Dreamers: Conversations with Media Artists (Coach House Press, 2008) and Inside the Pleasure Dome: Fringe Film in Canada (Coach House Press, 2001). He has edited or co-edited books on Frank Cole, Barbara Sternberg and Philip Hoffman, in addition to publishing electronic books on Deirdre Logue, Dani Leventhal, Al Razutis, Mike Cartmell, Steve Reinke, American Fringe Movies and the Documentary. In 1998 he authored Plague Years (YYZ Books) a tongue-in-chic autobiography. His first novel The Steve Machine was published by Coach House Press in the fall of 2008. He has published more than one hundred articles on fringe media which have appeared in magazines and catalogues around the world.

Since 2004 he has been working on Fringe Online (, a web project which makes available the archives of 40 Canadian media artists. This ongoing project currently consists of hundreds of pages of transcripts, reviews, interviews and scripts, and remains the largest publishing project in the Canadian fringe media sector.

This Hallwalls Artists in Residence Project (HARP) residency was funded in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.