#31: Christina Battle Video and multimedia installation artist Christina Battle hails from Edmonton, but now calls Denver her home. During her time in Colorado, she's taught for the Film Studies department at the University of Colorado at Boulder and more recently at Metro State University of Denver, but primarily she makes sophisticated experimental work, which has been screened in festivals, galleries and museums both here and abroad. This year Battle was installed as a RedLine resident artist, and her work is included in RedLine's 2013 resident show, An Invisible Boundary, running through the end of December.
We asked Battle to tackle our 100CC questionnaire; her answers follow.
See also: 100 Colorado Creatives: Eric Dallimore
Christina Battle, The Twelve Devil's Graveyards Around the World, documentation from exhibition at WARC Gallery (Toronto), mixed media installation [HD video loops, 16mm loop, projected light, archival magazine, 2013].
If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?
This is the hardest question ever! I have been thinking about it for a few days now. I was trying to think about some of the things that have been important to me since I was a kid and that have influenced me and my work in some way: maybe someone working with science fiction, like Philip K. Dick or Douglas Adams or George Orwell, or Ray Bradbury, or Isaac Asimov or Margaret Atwood or H.G. Wells or Chris Carter; or horror like Octavia Butler or David Cronenberg or George Romero or David Lynch; or from rock 'n' roll; or the punk rock.
Then I tried to think of someone who has broken rules and exerted real tangible change in society, like those involved in the civil rights movement (without whom I would likely not have the opportunity to write this for you now) or the labor movement, like Martin Luther King Jr. or Angela Davis or Cesar Chavez.
But then I was thinking I'm actually much more interested in what people are doing RIGHT NOW and tried to think of someone who somehow could embody all of those things. I don't know. I'm sill thinking about it. What about one of the scientists working on the Large Hadron Collider? That'd be super interesting, they have already contributed to shifting the way we think about the universe. Who knows what truths they'll dispel next!
Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?
I went to a talk that Oregon-based activist Micah White gave at RMCAD's Visiting Artist, Scholar and Designer Program a couple weeks ago called "The Future of Protest" and walked away totally inspired. He has some interesting ideas and tangible plans for how we might re-imagine the current political system.
I also was stopped at a railway stop with a friend a week ago and watched a train pass covered in The Texican Gothic's moniker, which was pretty amazing to experience.
Christina Battle, Tracking Sasquatch (Field Report #1), video still [5 minute video, 2010].
What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?
Not expect its artists to always do everything for free. Artists like to do things, to be involved and to engage, so we're inherently prone to take our time and energy for granted. We want to be involved and in general most artists already donate tons of their time to various initiatives. But when you ask us to do things -- to take part in your events or the projects you're organizing - we are essentially working for free to promote your organization or event. We're making you money so stop asking us to do it without offering us anything in return! I don't know of any other profession where individuals are expected to work so much for free. Also. See above answer.
Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?
There are quite a few! I have only been in Denver since 2009 (minus last year when I had moved away, not sure I would come back) so I feel like I'm still learning a lot about the community and the many artists working here. It'd be impossible to list all of those I've come across whose work I really like, and many of them have already been profiled in your segment. I put a screening together of video works earlier this summer called 'wandering through, across and within' that has been traveling around and includes a number of works made by artists I came across while living in Denver. It includes a short video by Justin Beard, whose work I was introduced to in an artist talk he gave at RedLine earlier this summer and was one of the best things I've been to in a long while.
I'm also excited to be collaborating with two friends whose work I really admire -- Denver musician Janet Feder and Emily K. Harrison (of square product theater in Boulder) -- on a theater piece called SLAB which is due to open in the summer of 2014. It was written by Denver-based writer Selah Saterstrom and is about Hurricane Katrina.
A group of us traveled down to New Orleans this summer to research and gather material for the production, and on the way back, while traveling through New Mexico, I started a new collaborative project with Adán De La Garza called five states of freedom that I'm also excited about. He's a Denver-based artist whose work I really like, and I think the project is a way to help us think through some of the many conversations we've had over the years about anarchy, notions of freedom, politics, the Military Industrial Complex, surveillance...and landscape -- some of my favorite things to think about!
Christina Battle, dearfield, colorado, documentation from exhibition at MCA Denver, installation (video loop, sound, aluminum, photograph), 2012].
What's on your agenda for the rest of 2013 and beyond?
2013 is already almost over! In early December, an interview I did with Toronto-based friend and media artist Clint Enns will come out in C Magazine, which is exciting for both of us. Also, a journal I am a contributing editor for -- Incite Journal of Experimental Media -- has a new issue coming out very soon called "Exhibition Guide (Issue #4)." We started working on it in early 2012, and it's a little behind schedule, so I can't wait to see it in print. It includes writing by some Denver artists as well -- Jeanne Liotta and Flinching Eye Collective. Issue #5 is already in the works, and I hope to see it for real in 2014.
So far, 2014 includes an exhibition of a work I made last year called dearfield, colorado at Gallery 44 in Toronto. I'm really thrilled to be able to share a bit of Colorado's history outside of the region. Also a new work the space between here and there (the Yukon river) will be on exhibit in Dawson City, Yukon in October of 2014. I spent a month up there this past spring (well, our spring, their end of winter) doing a residency and absolutely loved it. It's one of the most interesting towns and landscapes I've been lucky to spend time in -- amazing community and amazing people, and I feel so lucky to have a chance to go back.
Who do you think will get noticed in the local arts community this year?
I really hope it's a slight shift in thinking -- one where those who enjoy and support the arts start to value not only the many amazing and talented artists who live and work in Denver but also start to see the value of their time and energy. We don't expect a lot, but you'd be surprised how even the offering of a small artist fee or honorarium can really shift the dynamic and the way in which artists engage with a community.
Throughout the year, we'll be shining the spotlight on 100 superstars from Denver's rich creative community. Stay tuned to Show and Tell for more, or visit the 100 Colorado Creatives archive to catch up.
Do you have a suggestion for a future profile? Feel free to leave your picks in the comments.
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