What is the best way to remain human? For that matter, is there any virtue or advantage in clinging to an idea of humanity that has not been automated or enhanced by the awesome mechanics of prosperity and progress? In VictoryLand…you, I shall answer your letter it gets harder and harder to tell the difference between the good life and the killing machine. Zombies, drones and robots just keep coming while obdurate animals stake out the ruins. Ridiculed by academic critics and ignored by markets, straggling bands perpetuate the handmade, the recycled, the sabotage, the hack, the do-it-yourself, the do-it-together, the face-to-face, the low-fi, the no-fi, and the welter of archaic practices in the realms of feeling. Asymmetrical warfare and asymmetrical peacemaking are always the cutting edge of struggle. Juxtaposing drawings of high tech drones against images from advertising and recordings of people talking about compassion and awe,Victoryland examines the disembodied nature of protection and how and what values are defended.
Claire Pentecost’s work engages a variety of strategies: collaboration, research, teaching, field work, writing, lecturing, drawing, installation and photography in an ongoing investigation and interrogation of the institutional structures that organize and order knowledge. Her work positions artistic practice as a research practice, advocating for the role of the amateur in the collection, interpretation and mobilizing of information. Her website The Public Amateur, promotes those whose work crosses and disturbs the disciplinary boundaries that traditionally cleave to the authorized specialist. Pentecost’s work has long addressed the boundary between the natural and the artificial, leading her to a number of explorations into industrial agriculture and bio-engineering, including her long-term collaborations with Critical Art Ensemble and Beatriz daCosta and more recently, Compass. Originally trained as a photographer, her installation work has included the continual creation and documentation of a drawing and collage practice. The evolving drawings, re-presented as photographs, describe an ‘interior’ space: the physical and mental process of collection, consideration andorganization of information, or simply, a representation of contemplation.
Claire Pentecost is an artist and writer based in Chicago. Individually and collaboratively, she has exhibited and lectured in London, Copenhagen, Caracas, Paris, Zagreb, Ljubljana, Istanbul, New York and many parts of the U.S. Since 2006 she has worked with Brian Holmes and SixteenBeaver organizing a series of seminars in New York and Zagreb to articulate the interlocking scales of our existence in the logic of globalization. In the Chicago area, she collaborates with Compass exploring the Midwest Radical Cultural Corridor, and is a keyholder for the experimental cultural space, Mess Hall. Pentecost is Associate Professor in the Department of Photography at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.