SELECTED EARLY SINGLE-CHANNEL VIDEO WORKS
The following early video works were digitally re-mastered from their original analog source tapes in 2014.
Recorder 2, 2002
Recorder 2 is the second in a series of three videos called The Recorder Suite. The works in the suite address the role of hermeneutics in epistemology—or in simpler terms, the estimation that occurs when we come to know information. The videos feature Setzer with his mouth full of soap. For each bubble blown, a square is drawn. As the videos progress, saliva gradually dilutes the soap making the artist’s task more and more difficult. The Recorder Suite follows the processing of experience through the stages of perception, paraphrasing, and specialization.
Sights and sounds correlate in this visual pun of the word “composition.” While the history of art is sure to provide abundant examples of how portraiture can be explored with color and line, this humorous video suggests an alternative method for "composing" the contours of the face—a process that quietly pays homage to Kandinsky. Each colored pencil corresponds to an individual tone, and each tone plays only when the color it is associated with is in the frame.
Performance (Rhetoric Mover), 2001
Whether artists are conscious of it or not, the inherited lineage of art history has to some degree predetermined whether or not the artist’s actions are “creative.” Here, through his performative delivery, the artist literally activates preexisting vocabulary. Like children pretend to be explorers, artists finely comb over thoroughly mapped territories pushing forward with the hope of the discovery of subtle nuances. This video features Setzer performing “performance,”—like all art mediums, an already established field, and not one that presupposes invention or originality.
Here, metaphysical space is given physical site. Insider, consists of simple actions—sorting through and organizing toy bones and balls. Attributing form and drama to the invisible functions of the brain as it processes experience, this video explores that cycle as one that begins organically and gradually grows more and more discerning, reductively “bending” experience so that it can be contained by structure. Insider aims to present play as a metaphor for the “work” required when knowledge is gained.
Gary Setzer & Matthew Borgen
In and of themselves, ideas are invisible. And yet, much of the rhetoric that surrounds language treats ideas as if they were objects. In Hammering (a collaborative work with Philadelphia-based artist, Matthew Borgen) dialog is depicted as a process of construction. While the speech balloon represents the idea of the spoken word, no text appears within it. If mouths are tools in an abstract arena—here they are attempting to synthetically reconstruct the human experience.
Becomer (Informed Transformer), 2003
Experience can subject us to permanent irreversible change; like all else, it is a sought-after commodity. Aware of this, we frequently seek out experience expectant of that change, so as to situate ourselves in the residue of the phenomenon—expectant of transformation. To this end, experience has become romanticized—operating more as a vocabulary to be learned rather than a frontier to be explored. We begin to look for known patterns in our own shorthand version of comprehension. Ultimately the change we “receive” infrequently aligns with the immediate and observable commodity we self-consciously set out to acquire, leaving us as suppressed becomers. Still and yet, the body has undergone permanent chemical change.