Her Environment – Guest Curation, March 2016

'Her environment' is a bi-monthly digital media series founded by Allie Shyer & Chelsea Welch. The series highlights the work of feminine spectrum artists exploring mundane observations, inconsequential moments and daily ephemera. They want to build a space for up-and-coming artists who explore digital media in various mediums, such as sound, performance, installation, & writing.

Chelsea Welch is a digital artist and programmer based in Chicago IL. She makes work about observational /or imagined spaces and everyday intimacies. Currently she is exploring the mediums of digital collage, writing, and sound. She has shown in galleries locally and internationally such as (MMX Open Art Venue in Berlin, Germany), (Reversible Eye, Chicago IL), (Happy Dog Gallery, Chicago IL). She is currently is a Film/Video Programmer at the Comfort Station in Chicago IL.

Allie Shyer is a writer and artist based in Chicago. Her work explores the internet, vulnerability and invented realities through a feminine lens. Her work has been featured at Woman Made Gallery, Tri-Triangle, and Gallery 400, as well as online through selfish magazine, hooligan magazine and The Whale Sings.

Chelsea: ‘A Single Act of Benevolence’

I find myself searching for animal videos more than anything else on YouTube. Within the first 5 seconds of watching this video, I was captivated by the lifeless voice explaining this very compassionate moment between wild animals. Nature can be a brutal place, but this lioness proves that even the most fearsome predators can show compassion. A lioness comes across an injured fox and decides to become its protector. She fights off a male lion that approaches to feed on the fox. In this moment, she becomes aggressive and unrestrained. In this moment, she is a warrior fighting off the intruder.The irony and strangeness drew me in. It could be interpreted in so many ways. The supposedly innate ability of females to nurture came to mind. In a different scenario however, the lioness might have eaten that fox if she were hungry enough, right? Googling, I found that female lions at times deny their own children food in order to provide sustenance for themselves. It’s not unlikely that this female is inherently selfish as well. This is just an example of a captured moment in time when her heart felt tender.

Allie: Escaped Zebra Drill

First of all, I love the sounds in this video. The rustling of the leaves and the pounding of the sticks meant to entice the “zebra” are actually really soothing in a way that an actual escaped zebra situation would not be. I love the pacing. The actions are performed in a slow, deliberate way that is kind of like a dance. The real star of the show is the “zebra.” Whoever is in the zebra suit takes their role very seriously and sees the drill as an opportunity to add a little drama and flair. Watching them lope/skip away from a stricken zoo worker makes me giddy every time I watch it. The way the video is shot conveys the perspective of the zebra and how it feels during the escape. It’s always exciting to see grownups wholeheartedly participating in a fictional situation as if it were real, especially in public.

Chelsea: ‘ESG: UFO’

One of the reasons I love YouTube is that you can also use it as a tool to listen. This is how I uncover a lot of rare music online to share with other people. ESG is an black all female post­punk/ funk band from the South Bronx who made extraordinary music. This song is one of the most sampled songs in history and not enough people know where it comes from. Also the cover art is really good, so it's easy to stare at it for 3 minute and 44 seconds while you listen to the song.

Allie: Showry, More Ketchup

The immense popularity of Showry speaks to her creativity and ability to create a fantastical narrative with just a few props in her own home. Her work also does an amazing job of critiquing consumerism and the way that marketing and branding effect our desires. Her awareness and use of her body in relation to products and desire is simultaneously periodic and joyful, and her slightly unhinged persona is brave and relatable for me as a viewer. My favorite Showry video is More Ketchup. The way that she builds on a gag and continues to surprise the viewer and one­up herself is not only hysterical but really exciting to watch.

Allie and Chelsea: Jill Krosen: Lou’s Dream    

This video is simultaneously uncanny and heartbreaking. Chelsea and I are both obsessed with it. It has the roundabout logic of dreams: linear without making total sense. I’ve been interested in how to successfully employ dream logic in my work for a long time, and I think Jill really does a great job. Her childlike delivery is spot on. Listen for her perfectly accurate depiction of heartbreak. The simplicity of the performance gives a lot of space for a landscape to be created through strong linguistic choices.