Artist Statement

Single-channel video, Appropriation, 2015, 6’00’’

“The Porcine Dilemma”. In China’s Zhejiang province in early spring of 2013 dead pigs began appearing in multitudes on the Huangpu River, which supplies drinking water to Shanghai’s 26 million residents. When the count was finally complete, over 16,000 were hauled from the water. Speculations arose about the unchecked productivity of pig farming indicating excessive supply despite increased demand (estimated at over half the world’s pork consumption) and the dispatching of pigs as a desperate strategy to maintain market values. Meanwhile, the polluted water that flows into the city’s taps can only be matched by the toxic visions promulgated by apocalyptic evangelicals in America.
This work is part of the “Repurposed Web Reports” Series, a series of “reports” composed entirely of media collected from the Internet. Using the web as an investigative archive, these works mine the margins of the public sphere for vicarious insights into the contemporary state of humanity. Each work is prompted by a Google search, with the results creating the parameters of information and research as well as the dynamic media (image and sound) to be used as source material. Typically the subjects or events are at the margins of Western media representation and the content is often generated by nonprofessionals amateurs, tourists, and other on site witnesses using portable personal recording devices but in some instances it is either mixed with reports from conventional media outlets or originates from them singularly. Through editing, dialectic audio and sound juxtaposition, lo-fi video and glitch EFX, and text interplay, I then recast and remix this material to better illuminate and critique the deeper meanings and insights that can be generated. This approach is akin to the Situationist’s strategy of détournement – a form of appropriation where the materials are altered and subverted so that rather than supporting the status quo, their meaning becomes altered in order to put across a more radical or oppositional message.

  • PAUL TURANO (USA) ’s creative work investigates the complex relationship we have with our environment–our human ecology–in both local and global ways. Not unlike the fine arts approach of painters or photographers, he often works in series organized by specific media forms, shared themes, and commonality of content. For his work with video appropriation, he uses digitally compressed lo-fi imagery sourced from the Internet – the archival repository of the global village, as well as digital remix and glitch strategies. Turano picks events that are at the margins of the public sphere, yet speaks to the more universal conditions of our times. These images are often shot by everyday people and posted via crowd sharing sites, as an alternative to the mass media, another more crowd-sourced and democratized way to tell the “story”. Recasting this source material in Turano’s work allows him to examine the implications of these events more carefully, excavate their hidden meanings, to see what makes them tick. They are a form of subjective and subversive reportage. The series focuses on the brutality of state violence, environmental degradation and destruction, the fantasy of escape, Armageddon and fears of the end. They are a register of things gone awry.  paulturano.com

Full text and photo (PDF) p. 274-275