Stand Clear, a four channel video installation, is a poetic homage to the New York City subway as a rare place of shared humanity, chaos, and stillness. Drawing on four years of footage shot within the confines of the transit system, the installation works as a piece of tender observational cinema and a love letter to the diversity and strangeness of human experience.
Location: The Art and Technology Program exhibition in Building 10a, Nolan Park, Governors Island
Open to the public from 11 am to 5 pm Weekends
Meet the Artist Day: Saturday June 11, 2022
Most of us who rely on the New York City subway choose to remain oblivious while riding the trains: We bury our heads in a book, block sound with ear buds and music and avoid prolonged eye contact. Edin Velez says he can’t do that. I find the faces in the subway too interesting. I try to figure out their stories.
Vélez’s 5 minute four channel video installation, Stand Clear is the culmination of years of observing and recording video in subway stations and on trains. By collaging footage that he’s digitally processed to soften shapes and enhance colors, the Brooklyn-based artist has created a dream-like, meditative study of the subway and its riders. Originally presented as a single channel film, State of Rest and Motion premiered at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Now, the film has evolved into a different viewing experience. One that allows viewers to watch in a more interactive way as the images shift and change from screen to screen, drawing the eye from one screen to another. This is not the first time artists have gone into the subway for inspiration. Most famously Walker Evans shot his own subway series, Many Are Called in which he took pictures of Depression – era passengers. Forty years later, Bruce Davidson rode the trains, then full of crime and graffiti at the height of New York’s fiscal crisis. Vélez updates this tradition, bringing it into the digital age.
Edin Vélez Bio
Through rich imagery and an acute sense of visual metaphor, Edin Velez, one of the pioneers in video art, has consistently expanded the paradigms of the genre. Velez’s work in video and photography has always relocated the fabric and rhythms of a culture in the gestures and rituals of everyday life. Eschewing a conventional narrative voice, he orchestrates a confluence of associative elements to evoke, rather than analyze, the textures of a specific culture. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, he studied painting at the University of Puerto Rico and the School of Fine Arts of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture.
He has been awarded both Guggenheim and Rockefeller Fellowships as well as the American Film Institute’s Maya Deren Award for Excellence in Film and Video. His works have been exhibited at the Whitney Biennial, Documenta 8, Sao Paolo Biennial, Tate Gallery, Louvre Museum, Pompidou Center for the Arts, Paris, National Art Museum of China, Beijing, among others. They are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art: New York, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Hara Museum, Japan, and others.
In 2000 he was an artist in residence at the World Trade Center where he created a site specific installation on the 91st Floor of Tower One. His award winning documentary on Japanese Butoh, Dance of Darkness, was broadcast nationally in the USA by PBS and internationally in France and Germany by ARTE TV. State of Rest and Motion, an experimental documentary premiered at the Museum of Modern Art’s Documentary Fortnight and screened at the 2017 Havana Film Festival and Doc LA, where it won the Best Experimental Film award.
Velez has received grants from The National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council for the Arts, Creative Capital Foundation, Independent Television Service (PBS), ARTE TV (France), The Jerome Foundation, Massachusetts Council for the Arts, Program for Art on Film (a collaboration between the Getty Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art). His large format photographic prints of subway riders have been exhibited at Stux Gallery, Nurture Art Gallery and others. He has been working on a long term photographic project in the NYC subway. Edin is a Professor at Rutgers University, Newark. He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
WEBSITE AND SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS
IG: edinvelez, edinvelezart
Photo District News Magazine: https://pdnonline.com/gear/techniques/video-filmmaking/new-documentary-turns-new-yorks-subways-dreamland/
A Sponsored Project of Harvestworks funded in part by the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.