Using archival entertainment footage of cultural icons downloaded primarily from Internet sources such as YouTube, Conrad Ventur creates immersive environments that draw on the power of celebrity, collective memory, and nostalgia. In appropriating these found recordings, Ventur reanimates the great entertainers of past generations, highlighting the sincere desire to recreate and relive significant cultural moments over and over. Yet by employing the Internet, a non-hierarchical system that collapses distinctions and distances in time and Ventur points to the merging of past and present in his installations, presenting these notable subjects in a new context. Ventur refracts these videos through/on objects such as rotating crystal pendant prisms and mirror balls, spilling spectral images of the stars throughout the exhibition space – bringing new agency to the material.
Conrad Ventur, “If You Knew”, 2009, (based on the song by Nina Simone), video installation