Benjamin Rosenthal

of spectral glances [in] and [of] prophetic tremors, [not touching]

In of spectral glances [in] and [of] prophetic tremors, [not touching] (2017, five channel video installation), virtual erotic situations ignore the role of genitalia in favor of metaphors of penetration via USB ports implanted in skins of body-like forms. On a large screen a finger slowly strokes the boundaries of a skin-like, modernist structure to the sounds of technologically mediated breather—interrupted by overwhelming moments of color, body, and sound with recited text-to-speech messages from explicit queer sexting encounters.  Adjacent to this screen, the body of the artist is probed and scanned by a dental camera which produces sound in relationship to the proximity of the body. Signs and symbols are extracted from this activity that reference the interruptions happening elsewhere in the work. Also adjacent, and on the floor, a monitor complete with suggestive objects showcases a seductive virtual object, like the one resting atop the screen, coated in glistening video images. Immediately behind the viewer and opposite the large screen are two analog monitors synchronized in competition with each other—one playing fragments of a modified version of Ginuine’s “Pony,” the other a version of Ludacris’ “What’s your fantasy?”

The interplay in space and time between subtle erotic acts, suggestive touching, and the reference to the body performs in conjunction with the viewers’ bodies. Subjected to these multitude of signals and inputs across the sensory spectrum, their physical bodies become unwitting participants—penetrated by the intensity of the action, sound and images of the installation. (2).gif


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Benjamin Rosenthal (b.1984, New York, NY, Lives and Works in Kansas City, Missouri) holds an MFA in Art Studio from the University of California, Davis and a BFA in Art (Electronic Time-Based Media) from Carnegie Mellon University. His work has been exhibited internationally in such venues/festivals as the Stuttgarter Filmwinter (Stuttgart, Germany), High Concept Labs at Mana Contemporary(Chicago, IL), ESPACIO ENTER: Festival International Creatividad, Innovacíon y Cultural Digital (Tenerife, Canary Islands),  FILE Electronic Language International Festival (São Paulo, Brazil), Vanity Projects (New York, NY), Locomoción Festival de Animacion (Mexico City, Mexico), CICA Museum (Gimpo-se, Republic of Korea), PLUG Projects (Kansas City, Missouri) and online via the Istanbul Contemporary Art Museum (Is.CaM), among others.  He has been in residence at the Fjúk Arts Centre (Husavík, Iceland), Signal Culture (Owego, New York) and the Ox-Bow School of Art (Saugatuck, Michigan) and is currently one of the 2017-2018 artists-in-residence at the Charlotte Street Foundation in Kansas City. Pulling from a variety of fields in the humanities and sciences, he questions the authenticity of our physical experience in an age where the boundaries between reality and the virtual become indistinguishable. Rosenthal is Assistant Professor of Expanded Media in the Department of Visual Art at the University of Kansas where he has been since 2012, and teaches video art, performance art, experimental animation, graduate seminar and interdisciplinary practices.