On view on Instagram at @capturephotofest
The videos in Simon Bermeo-Ehmann’s CLIPS series layer stored footage of quotidian life from the artist’s personal archive that was shot casually on his phone. These short, non-narrative moving images include the hypnotic reflections on the surface of a body of water, the play of light on fabric, cars whizzing down the freeway, and the rushing water of fountains. Focusing on “moments of calm, peaceful banality” as the artist refers to them, these works extend the act of looking, draw the viewer in to watch more closely and more carefully, and evoke a “trance like state” through their simple, repetitive compositions. The meditative short clips find tranquility and poetic imagery hidden within the hustle and bustle of the everyday.
Employing a feature within Instagram which allows videos to be layered over one another, Bermeo-Ehmann creates scenes-within-scenes and windows-within-windows. Sometimes this act of layering combines two very similar videos; other times the artist offers a purposefully jarring juxtaposition, actively evoking the remix culture that pervades contemporary media. This viewing experience mimics the way in which many people experience electronics today through multiple devices or toggling between varied websites and applications. Some of the videos are strangely surreal, featuring what feels like a portal to another world through a door or amidst a field.
Exhibited on Instagram, these videos were specifically created on the social networking sharing service just a decade old and one not traditionally used to present artwork. Using this platform as his medium, Bermeo-Ehmann confirms the continued conflation of the personal and the public, the mundane and unusual, and the blurry lines around what qualifies as “art” as well as suggesting new possibilities for the widespread distribution of work through this accessible and popular platform.