Morning Ritual by Shana Moulton
Frieze Film is a series of commissioned artists’ films screened at Frieze London and showcased on Channel 4’s Random Acts strand; an experimental platform that allows artists to creatively express themselves through the medium of film.
Born in 1976 in Fresno, California, New York based artist—Shana Moulton fuses performance art with social commentary. Drawing parallels with a range of subjects from consumerism, commercialised New Age philosophies and other artistic styles, such as Land Art. Moulton also looks to individual artists as inspiration, including Mondrian and Georgia O’Keeffe.
Her videos dip into the aesthetics of the late 1970s and 1980s and were conceived as a series entitled ‘Whispering Pines’ (2002–). “Morning Ritual” also features the fictional character Cynthia–an alter ego played by the artist—as a bored, hypochondriac housewife. The short gets progressively more surreal as Moulton adds psychedelic sequences, soundtracked by music from Nick Hallett and vocals by Daisy Press.
“Whispering Pines” by Shana Moulton
This video was featured in “Acting Out,” the group exhibition guest-curated by Erin Riley-Lopez at the Bronx River Art Center from December 3, 2010 – January 8, 2011.
The artists deliberately perform—in front of a camera, before an audience, or both— acting out their narratives and characters. Costuming, location, and props, among other elements, play an especially important role in these videos, as they provide the foundation for the entire scenario that is performed by the artists. Regardless of their strategies—which range from quiet interior reflection without monologue or dialogue, to more assertive questioning and discussion—they all share a keen interest in tackling normative societal structures, traditional hierarchical roles, and what it means to be a woman.
A Brief History of Shana Moulton & Whispering Pines | “New York Close Up” | Art21
Should an artist separate herself from the character she creates? In this film, artist Shana Moulton traces the development of her ongoing video and performance series “Whispering Pines” and its central protagonist Cynthia. Shana charts the various ways in which fiction and autobiography meld and diverge in the character of Cynthia, played by the artist herself. The title of the series is an homage to David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks” and adopts the name of Shana’s childhood home: a trailer park for seniors near Yosemite, California. Featuring video and music from several episodes of “Whispering Pines”—a mix of live action, computer animation, and original songs by Jacob Ciocci and Nick Hallett.
Shana Moulton (b. 1976, Oakhurst, California, USA) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
CREDITS | “New York Close Up” Created & Produced by: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Editor: Mary Ann Toman. Cinematography: Andrew David Watson. Additional Camera: Don Edler & John Marton. Key Grip: John Marton. Sound: Nicholas Lindner. Associate Producer: Ian Forster. Production Assistant: Paulina V. Ahlstrom, Don Edler & Maren Miller. Design: Open. Artwork: Shana Moulton. Additional Photography: Shana Moulton. Music: Jacob Ciocci & Nick Hallett. An Art21 Workshop Production. © Art21, Inc. 2011. All rights reserved.
“New York Close Up” is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Additional support provided by The 1896 Studios & Stages.
For more info: art21.org/newyorkcloseup