UPDATES #7 : Shaye Saint John

As we await new works to be released from many of our artists here, we wrap up our last update on someone who it may seem no update is possible. There are a few things to say though, and hopefully some more insight to follow.

Our own “GodMother of Absurdist Video Art”, Shaye Saint John, remains gone, though her online work, and legacy continues on.

Hard to believe her last upload was 5 years ago, yet recent comments to her online videos are only days/weeks old, with many being: “Is the uploader truly dead?” User ‘BrittanyBearz01’ replies, “Yes, it seriously breaks my heart :(”

But it’s user ‘ADancingRobot’ who sums it up perfectly:

It speaks volumes about the impact Shaye has made with his art when here we are almost 6 years later commenting on the beauty, horror, and intrigue of his videos. RIP you sick, brilliant fuck.



This speaks towards the new media as well, the new situation in relation to arts, cinema, video arts especially. And that a “one night retrospective” is no longer relevant or needed. The retrospective is a continuous every day event, attracting new admirers all the time, in real time, every time.

In Shaye’s case, we did miss out on a huge behind the scenes aspect, made even larger and more frustratingly curious, by the nature of her, er, HIS work. Shaye, in real life, was that of Eric Fournier, who kept himself distinctly separate from his creation. Though a very nice, albeit brief nugget has surfaced, more on that in a moment.

As far as updates for Shaye go, there had been talk after Eric’s passing, that enough unearthed material had surfaced for a SECOND dvd release to be in the works. This was big news and very exciting. But since then there hasn’t been anything, and after attempted emails to the friend who appeared to be handling Shayes old myspace account and had made the announcement, no reply was ever returned.

My guess is the mountain of editing involved, and perhaps the realization, and now appreciation for the unique style Eric had with his sound design, purposeful cheesy layered effects, and quick cuts that made the task seem too much to take on.

What has surfaced over the past few years is a brief behind the scenes look at Eric’s Los Angeles residence where he lived with a roommate who apparently still lives there now and knew the exact spots where specific scenes were shot. He spoke on Eric’s long editing sessions, with mega render times (this being back in the day and all. )

I attempted contact with the guy who shot the piece, in a further attempt to get contact info for the roommate and possibly get an interview with him for more insight on Eric and his unique creation that continues to haunt, cause hilarity and utter internet confusion to this very day. Someone right now is watching a Shaye Saint John video wondering what in the fuck is going on.

No reply from the video maker as of yet.

Here’s his behind the scene’s piece of the late Shaye’s residence:

And of course, some classic Shaye:









Ryan Trecartin 2012 – Absurdist’s Updates 5

As far as the online world goes, nothing new has emerged on Trecartin’s YT, Vimeo, or Ubu channels.

As far as the offline world goes…

“Ryan Trecartin Joins Andrea Rosen Gallery After Several Months as a Free Agent.”

This occurred just last month in May, coming after a headline last Fall which read:

“Ryan Trecartin Leaves His New York Gallery”

These headlines, and the accompanying articles, give you a hint at the hoity hoo-rah-rah Art World, er bubble, and Ryan’s ability to slice his part of the pie within such. And apparently a significant slice at that, according to “Sources”:

“There’s not one gallery of major significance that is not going to take an interest in what he’s doing,” the source said.

Now, besides Trecartin, and Brian Bress, most of the video artists here at AVA are “Free Agents”, and Ryans October to May dry representation spell is the norm for everyone else.

Which is a shame, not for the video makers, they’re genuine outlaw artists who’ll produce no matter what, but for the galleries. After a decade of viewing video art in both museums and art galleries in both U.S. and Europe,  it’s easy to say that the work produced by the artists on this site are far more visually interesting and engaging for gallery presentation than much of what is, and has been, out there. And, as is with Trecartin’s work, the works from those here represent a far more relevant look towards modern day and beyond.

But video art being a strange thing to, ahem, “market”, it tends to take the second or third tier to the usual physical works . But Video Artists, some, tend to also produce such works, some which go along with the visuals, supplement, or are separate altogether (Ryan does create other works and it should be noted he is collaborating with artist Lizzie Fitch as part of the new representation, and I’m guessing more of the sculptural pieces will be produced as well along with the video works).

…the artists (Fitch/Trecartin) also forged a specific collaborative practice that has been responsible for a range of output: freestanding sculpture, musical compositions, and the sculptural theatres that “frame” Trecartin’s movies. Read more here.

Ryan’s new gallery rep owner, who runs another Gallery as well,  has this to say:

“In one way, I don’t care whether Gallery 2 shows are profitable,” she said. “On the other hand, if I were to ever separate the idea of inspiration from the idea of the market,” which, in the vein of Félix González-Torres, she would never do normally, “I believe that collectors, along with the public, are making a true consensus on what’s significant.

“We want to be immortalized by art, and those generalizations about us, what we’re leaving behind to represent us and our time, have a relationship to money in that we value them. How do we value those things that are going to historicize us? So there has to be a sense of value, but that’s different from the market.” Full article here.

There’s a lot to respond to, and counter, on that note, but for another time.

We look forward to new work from the Ryan and Fitch collaboration. And what an enormous relief and refreshment it is to know, that even after all this “Art Bubble” talk of representation announcements and free agency and the measuring of monetary art worth, that when all is said and done in that nostalgic world, Ryan will quickly turn around and enter the more relevant world, by transferring a file and clicking an upload button, making his work available, in full, for everyone to view for free.

Keep an eye on the following:

Ryan Trecartin Vimeo Channel

YT Channel

Ryan on UBU