Academic journal article Millennium Film Journal

Indubitable Hybridity

Academic journal article Millennium Film Journal

Indubitable Hybridity

Article excerpt


"It always starts fast and then begins unwinding"

-Amy Sillman recites Charles Bernstein's poem in Pinky's Rule

Pinky's Rule (2011), a seven-minute iPhone animation, is an intertextual play and response collaboration with images by the painter Amy Sillman and text by the poet Charles Bernstein, and as such, is an indexical record of the creative process between the two artists. Their strategy of intentional interactivity proceeded incrementally, over a six-month period, as they constructed the animated images and poem.

Sillman and Bernstein's collaboration began on the occasion of Bruce Pearson curating an exhibition for the Big Wall at the Bowery Poetry Club. The exhibition's raison d'être was to instigate a kind of hybrid breeding ground between painters and artists. The intertextual pieces produced would then become the exhibition. As paired collaborators, the painter Amy Sillman and the poet Charles Bernstein began their creative commingling resulting in Pinky's Rule.

Sillman recounts (in an email to this reviewer), "the poem didn't exist till the animation and visa versa." And Bernstein wrote (in the online magazine "In making the work, the collaborators went back and forth, toggling from image to poem and poem to image, so that it is impossible to say which came first. All the images bounce off the poem and the poem is constantly grappling with and extending the graphics. Sillman made more than 2,000 images for the film."

While both artists create within their own forms, they are also both reciprocally interpreting the other form within their own. Together, their gerundive performativity is intertexual transliteration at its best, conflating the image and the word into a reversible simile: pictures as language-language as pictures. For the collaborators, though, the speech act seems to be a more apt metaphor for their originating process, which they describe as "'iconophrastic' (both speaking picture and pictures speaking)" [] The fluidity and polyvalence of forms and media, the gestures and utterances, imbue a unique hybridity to Pinky's Rule . Sillman rhetorically gestures moving from abstraction to figuration and back again. Bernstein ekphrastically conjures up vivid images through his sequential textual constructions.

The viewer views and the listener listens as moments of a descriptively referenced diegesis are vaguely anticipated-perhaps even transiently satiated-and then dashed. …

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