31 July till 10 September 2013


Residency Shana Moulton

Kunsthuis SYB is surrounded by Opsterland: a rural heathland characterised by some striking woodlands. Hence SYB provides its residents, besides the house, with a particular ‘forestry’ setting. One artists inclined to travel to such rural settings (and who can often be found in the woods) is Shana Moulton.

Moulton is best known for her digitally manipulated single-channel video series Whispering Pines, featuring her alter-ego Cynthia. In this series Cynthia, born from the ambivalent affection Moulton has for the ‘feminine,’ seeks purpose and fulfilment through home decor, self-help paraphernalia and cosmetic rituals. The figure of Cynthia personalizes Moulton’s larger interest in bodily and spiritual anxieties which may typify our current technology-enhanced and post-spiritual world. Moulton’s fully self-produced environments wittily combine spirituality, pop culture and consumerism, while referring to darker themes as escapism, uncertainty and isolation.

Although the solo project Whispering Pines is central to Moulton’s practice, collaborations are vital to her work. SYB’s residency provides Moulton with the right environment and conditions to invite artist-friends such as Noa Giniger, Nick Hallett, Andrew Kerton and Lucy Stein. These artists not only have a strong artistic connection to Moulton’s work, but they also have the ability to push the boundaries of her practice. During the residency at SYB Moulton will look into the dynamics of their shared household. She will examine their collaboration with a specific interest in the positioning of domestic objects as incited by the following choreographic statements by Simone Forti:

‘Each decision of what to move and just where to put it refines the discourse of how we live. If I was uncertain about a certain object, I would move it into an ambiguous alignment and go back the next day to find my answer.’

But, as said before, SYB’s household setting also includes its typically Dutch ‘naturally artificial’ environment exemplified by sculpture parks, nature reserves, recreation areas and national parks like De Alde Feanen and the Drents-Friese Wold. Specifically these landscapes and earthworks may turn out to be the central tenant of Moulton’s collaborative residency period. Moulton is keen to explore, with a particular interest in the nearby Broken Circle Spiral Hill by Robert Smithson, how earthworks can relate to or enrich her own, as well as that of her collaborators, practice. It is also within these non-urban settings surrounding SYB that Moulton will create new scenarios for her alter-ego Cynthia.

Shana Moulton (1976, USA) lives and works in Queens, New York. She earned a BFA from University of California in Berkeley, an MFA from Carnegie Mellon University and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and De Ateliers in Amsterdam. She has been an artist-in-residence at The Sommerakademie in Berne, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and Harvestworks in New York. Moulton has exhibited and performed at venues such as The New Museum, MoMA P.S.1, The Kitchen and Socrates Sculpture Park in New York, Migros Museum in Zurich, The Times Museum in Guangzhou, The 29th Ljubljana Biennial as well as Migrating Forms in New York, Impakt Festival in Utrecht, Rencontres Internationales and the European Media Arts Festival. She is a featured artist at Electronic Arts Intermix and her work has also been screened on Arte TV and PBS’s Art21.

Noa Giniger (1977, IL) is an Israeli artist living in The Netherlands. Moulton and Giniger’s collaboration began when the two met in Pittsburgh in 2003 at Carnegie Mellon University. Together they have designed sets and costumes and staged photographs. They also worked together at De Ateliers in Amsterdam and created a video as part of Noa’s Zimmer for FAB project at Kunsthuis SYB.

Andrew Kerton (1981, UK) is an English artist living in London. Kerton and Moulton met at De Ateliers in 2004 and have collaborated on several projects. Their most ambitious work involved a multimedia video-performance which pitted the Book of Revelation against Nietzsche’s notion of Eternal Return.

Lucy Stein (1979, UK) is an English artist living in Glasgow. Her collaboration with Moulton also started at De Ateliers. Their work together includes curating a group show in their apartment in Geuzenveld called Flounder, the creation of two videos featuring both filmed action and painted animations, and a joint installation for the Frieze Art Fair in 2008. Their work often involves the notion of ‘convalescing.’

Nick Hallett (1974, USA) is a NYC-based composer, vocalist and impresario who works across genre and media to create innovative, multidisciplinary music-based performance. Nick’s first original opera, a collaboration with video artist Shana Moulton titled Whispering Pines 10, played at The Kitchen in April 2010, The San Francisco MoMA in 2012 and The Warhol Museum in 2013.