Keren Cytter’s recent video Terrorist of Love (2016) deconstructs the modern principles of cinema and linear storytelling. Shot with a fixed 4K camera in a single take, the work takes the form of an eccentric homemade music video, complete with keyboard-playing cats and other meme-like imagery one would find on Instagram, Tumblr, and GIF-sharing sites. The camera zooms in and out to the stilted, trance-inducing rhythm of the soundtrack, described by the artist as “a love song using political words.” The pixelated, low-quality imagery, as well as the artificial nature of the central theatrical performance—the obvious lip-syncing and exaggerated choreography—disrupt the highly manufactured, slick viewing experiences we are accustomed to today. Furthermore, the “one-shot” take, traditionally valued as a technically challenging filmic feat, here cheekily recalls the unprofessional, unedited livestreams we see daily on social media. Like much of Cytter’s work, Terrorist of Love is at once crude and sophisticated, playful and somber. It prompts us to ruminate on filmic convention, cliché, and, of course, the inescapable human condition—love.
Keren Cytter (b. 1977, Tel Aviv) lives and works in New York.
In a time of embedded lives and networked culture, where the screen acts as a mediator between the self and perceived reality, technology has ostensibly become an extension of the body, changing our relationship to space, ourselves, and others. Digital Bodies is a one-year program that features videos by artists who use and manipulate digital technologies—mainly computer-generated images, signs, and systems sourced from digital platforms—to reflect on how these technologies have impacted our everyday lives and changed the ways we relate to the world. Given our current state of constant digital expansion and acceleration, these works express the pervasiveness and indispensability of digital culture in shaping our daily interactions.
Digital Bodies is organized by the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University and curated by Carla Acevedo-Yates and Steven L. Bridges, Associate Curators. Support for this exhibition is provided by the Alan and Rebecca Ross endowed exhibition fund.