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Our spectacular world of man-made disasters and naked power grabs generates the perennial media theatre upon which the video art of Daniel Borins and Jubal Brown is built. With morbid pleasure, they play upon the schizophrenic rationale that justifies the terrorism, war and episodes of Friends that appear on your nearest TV screen. If attention deficit, obsession and compulsion are cultivated only to be exploited through fear by the all-powerful industrial-military-media complex, then Borins and Brown are the purveyors of contemporary counter-exploitation.
In Jubal Brown’s room, the pernicious power of the political sphere is inverted and reincarnated as the self-destruction of body and mind; auto-extracting a pound of flesh, dreaming up dancing nymphets, and plunging home a heroin-filled needle are all idle yet unrelentingly visceral pastimes. Conversely, the opus Hymn to Thanateros by Jubal Brown and Tasman Richardson (2003) with its lush textures and deep emotive colours, is an invitation to explore our inner world, specifically our instinctual drive toward death.
Daniel Borins’s stance may be more distanced, but it still reverberates powerfully within the moral vacuum and inequity of our commerce-based society. His reassemblage of blockbuster movies and television teases out the seductive call of personal fulfillment and paranoia so that it blares like a fascist siren. Anybody who caught his jawdropping The Apotheosis of Everything at New Toronto Works 2003 knows this style as one to watch: lizard brain and high cerebra together at last.
The lure of titillation and the promise of satisfaction, though never fulfilled, continue always to entice. What can artists like Jubal Brown and Daniel Borins do but suck the rancid milk from the consumer-capitalist teat that sustains us and vomit it back as a projectile of video art? Catch the spray in the form of old favourites, unearthed assaultive treasures from the vaseliney vault, and brand-new works by both artists.