Animal Charm

Comprised of Jim Fetterley and Rich Bott, Animal Charm’s tapes are mind-bendingly inventive experiments in uncanny, surreal montage that defy logical analysis. [Their work] is a tour de force of incongruous juxtapositions, startling dislocations and ingenious visual rhymes assembled from the banal detritus of late night TV.” –Gavin Smith, 1998 New York Video Festival

SINGLE CHANNEL VIDEOS By re-editing sounds and images derived from a wide variety of sources, Animal Charm scrambles media codes, creating a kind of tic-ridden, convulsive montage, their disruptive gestures often re-investing conventional forms with subversive meanings.

Animal Charm participates in video’s rich legacy of media deconstruction. Their interventions – distillations of music videos, commercials and infomercials sampled from a reservoir of neglected or useless images – offer moments of resistance. If you took this text and scrambled the word order, you would stills have a sense of what it was about. But if you took a magazine article on physics, a chapter of “Pride and Prejudice”, or instructions on how to apply cosmetics and merged them together, what would happen? This is precisely what Animal Charm do with television footage. By compositing TV and reducing it to a kind of babble, they force television to not make sense. While this disruption is playful, it also reveals an overall ‘essence’ of mass culture that would not be apprehended otherwise. Works such as Stuffing, Ashley and Lightfoot Fever upset the hypnotic spectacle of TV viewing, in turn revealing how advertising creates anxiety, how culture constructs ‘nature’, how conventional morality is dictated through seemingly neutral images, and so on. By forcing television to babble like a raving lunatic, we might finally hear what it is actually saying.” –Nelson Henricks (from film and video anthology 25 Years of the Pleasure Dome)



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