LD: Works like Empyrean and The Road to Mount Weather among others, critically address an overwhelming range of issues including anything from consumerism, economic globalization to American politics and Hollywood. The presentation of these works often echo religious altarpieces particularly reminiscent of the Renaissance era. What do you allude to within this metaphorical ʻframeʼ?
CE: My interests lie in the historical and political reconstruction of recordings and transmissions of mediated subjects, places, and ideas. The jumble of these issues are, for the most part, what I am addressing, not specifically critically, yet the ideas of criticality are also part of the conflation. Since the delivery of such information is the mediation, the mediated becomes the underlying subject. The conflation of these mediated images is something of a subjective regurgitation of the wash of juxtaposed information and images I encounter and distill throughout the process. Predilections and obsessions have a tendency to become more recurrent within this framework. Certain compositions from the Northern Renaissance reverberate with this complexity and resultant flatness of form reminding me of the compositions I construct. There is a kinship. There is also, in these altar pieces, a transcendence of the profane and banal that I find myself striving to accomplish.
LD: Your work is allegorically intricate and labor intensive; always using millions of found images off the internet to arrange and animate. What are the intentions of working specifically in this accumulated way?
CE: The searching, downloading, and databasing of images are modes of research, acquisition, and consumption all at once. It fulfills my need to collect but without the excessive expenditures of other possible activities and makes me feel as if I am actively participating in a complex economy of consumption, production, and aggregation. The final work is intricate but reductive, effectively boiling down the numerous ideas, information, and images that I have come across during their creation. The intricacy of the photomontage and choreography of elements within the frame is similar to a superimposition of multiple timelines, but one where the image stays clear and crisp while the narrative becomes over-exposed and abstracted.
LD: After a cathartic critiquing of the ʻsystemʼ, artwork becomes consumed and regurgitated back into it again, so to speak. Where do you see your videos throughout this dynamic? Where do place content after it has made its critique?
CE: I wish I had an exacting answer to this question. During the creation of the work, I place myself within a pataphysical relation to the ‘systems’ allowing a lot for chance to inform my direction. I’m wholly involved in the information I’m tackling and the broader narrative I’ve envisioned, yet without a clear idea of what exactly the definitive message or critique should be. Perhaps, the subjective recreation of the mediated world around me and my relationship to that recreated landscape is the cathartic critique, and, at the very least, is an extension of positioning myself within those systems. After that, time passes, memories morph, and the context of where the work is seen changes. Also, the interaction and deciphering of the viewer through their personal biases changes the way the pieces are read. So, the content becomes malleable in relation to time, memory, context, and history, not to mention what is novel at the time the work is consumed. With this, the critique encountered by the viewer (and myself) continues but also changes in various and unexpected ways. That being said, Iʼm always excited to show at universities and museums reaching a broad audience. I would be satisfied if my work unexpectedly lit afire the tender and kindling inside someoneʼs mind to enact positive and creative social change.
LD: You work solely in video. Can you expand on why this medium seems integral to your message?
CE: I feel the form, process and content of the work is appropriate to a mass medium such as video. But, I’m reflecting on the digital and reproducible nature of the source materials I use. For them to remain digital and continuously loop seems appropriate.