THurs: Talking Points + Talking Ponies, Troy NY

From: Dara G (email suppressed)
Date: Sun Nov 26 2006 - 12:10:42 PST

"Talking Points + Talking Ponies":
An evening of video and live performance by media artist Ben Coonley
Thurs Nov 30, 7 PM
3361 6th Avenue in Troy, NY

(Troy NY) The Sanctuary For Independent Media (3361 6th Avenue in
Troy) presents "Talking Points + Talking Ponies," an evening of video
and live performance by renowned media artist Ben Coonley on
Thursday, November 30, at 7 PM.

Multi-disciplinary artist Ben Coonley presents a selection of
underground art videos, Internet curiosities, and avant-PowerPoint
performances that defy the logic of corporate aesthetics in favor of
an ecstatic self-reflexive personal vision. In his “Trick Pony”
videos, singing hobby-horses teach the audience how to play football,
dance the Texas two-step, and explain the logic of global currency
markets. In a series of new performance art pieces created entirely
in PowerPoint, the ubiquitous graphs and bulleted text of Microsoft
Office give way to wizard cats and hallucinatory technological trickery.

In May, 2006, Coonley showed work in Troy as part of the “Gilded Pony
Performance Festival.” For his presentation at the Sanctuary, he
will expand on some of the work he presented at the Gilded Pony.

Coonley recently collaborated with RPI Faculty Nao Bustamante on a
video for the “Free to Be You and Me Invitational,” a special
collaborative art project commissioned by Ocularis in Brooklyn, NY.

Coonley is presenting this program at a number of venues this fall.
It is tentatively scheduled to be shown an event in conjunction with
the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, DC, at Hampshire College in
Amherst, MA, and at Monkeytown in Brooklyn, NY.

Ben Coonley is a video, performance and new media artist who uses
self-reflexive pedagogical styles and direct audience address to
explore aspects of media culture and film history. Dissecting and re-
contextualizing the conventions of the avant-garde canon and amateur
public access/internet video, Coonley’s works are no-brow subversions
of cinematic genre and the new media apparatus.

Coonley studied Art Semiotics at Brown University, and received an
MFA from Bard College in 2002. His works have been screened
extensively at international festivals including the International
Film Festival Rotterdam, New York Underground Film Festival,
Cinematexas, Pacific Film Archive, and the Robert Flaherty Film
Seminar. He lives in Brooklyn.

Works include: Valentine for Perfect Strangers (Internet project,
2006), Pre-Show Slides for an Intransigent Audience (PowerPoint
presentation, 2004-2005), The Pony Collection (video/performance,
2003), Wavelength 3D (anaglyph 3D video, 2003), The Homework Diaries
(video, 2000), Andy Warhol’s Forbes Factory (16mm film, 1999), Pie
Eating 101: 101 Years of Pie (video, 1998). Select works distributed
by Video Data Bank.

Local presentation of Ben Coonley's "Talking Points + Talking Ponies"
is made possible by volunteer labor, small financial contributions
from hundreds of patrons of The Sanctuary For Independent Media, and
the Experimental Television Center Presentation Funds program, which
is supported by the New York State Council on the Arts. Admission is
by donation ($10 suggested, $5 student/low income).

The Sanctuary For Independent Media is a community media arts center
located in an historic former church in Troy, NY. The Sanctuary
hosts screening, production and performance facilities, training in
media production and a meeting space for artists, activists and
independent media makers of all kinds. The Sanctuary is located at
3361 6th Avenue, three doors down from 101st Street in north Troy.
Call (518) 272-2390, email email suppressed,
or visit for more information.

         # # #


“a film theory prankster…”
-The Austin Chronicle, May 2003.

“Gorin's notion of riot in the margins carried through with
particular urgency in the American fare: [in] the public-access-hued
ventriloquism of Ben Coonley's "Trick Pony Cycle”…the best domestic
offerings rejected production-valued cinema and comforting humanism
in favor of the knowingly ruthless misuse of audiovisual
technologies, drawing from the amateur, the ephemeral, and the
-Ed Halter, “Cinematexas: An oasis of radicalism deep in Bush
country,” The Village Voice, Oct 8-14, 2003.

“..Ben Coonley's prizewinning Trick Pony Trilogy [is] a hilarious low-
tech joy …
-Andy Speltzer, “My Kind of Festival,” The Stranger, Vol. 12, No. 51,
Sept 3-10, 2003.

“Some highlights [of the Brooklyn Underground Film Festial] include
the wacked-out but compelling narratives featuring a toy talking pony
in Ben Coonley’s two shorts…”
-Williams Cole, “A Festival Pops Up in Brooklyn,” Brooklyn Rail,
November, 2003.

“This year found media pirates in top form, deprogramming classic
texts by such artists as Michael Snow (Ben Coonley’s witty,
shimmering Wavelength 3D)…”
    - Spencer Parsons, “New York Underground Film Festival,”
Filmmaker, May 5, 2004.

“The most avant-garde cat curiosity currently online is also a man's
work. The now viral video "Valentine For Perfect Strangers" was
created by Ben Coonley and commissioned by a funky Brooklyn art and
performance space…This is real art. In the piece, Otto, a sweet,
plushy, very expressive tuxedo cat who Coonley has supplied with a
baby-cute digital voice, posts an online dating ad -- a
reinterpretation of the "Perfect Strangers" opening sequence. The
head of Cousin Larry, aka Mark Linn-Baker, has been replaced with
Otto's head, and Otto encourages his potential paramours to respond
to his ad by replacing the head of Bronson Pinchot, aka Balki
Bartokomous, with their own. It's the best thing that's happened to
Pinchot's or Linn-Baker's careers in years.”
-Tamara Ikenberg, “Crazy Cat Lads,” The Courier-Journal, Louisville,
KY, March 18, 2006

“Sigh. It's things like these that make us happy we live in the
future. “, about the internet video “Valentine for Perfect

“Otto the feral cat wants us to stand tall with him on the wings of a
shared dream.
Us? We think we may love him without hope. “, “Video Dog,” about “Valentine for Perfect Strangers”

“ Is this the next ‘Lazy Sunday’? Probably not--it's too bizarre.
But man, is it great, much funnier than the clip that made Andy
Samberg famous.”
- BusinessWeek Online, Fine on Media, about “Valentine for Perfect


Video Data Bank page:$artistdetail?COONLEYB

Valentine for Perfect Strangers (online video project):


For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.