Speak, Memory: Cameron Jamie

12 December 2010 thru 20 February 2011
Location: Hogewal 1-9, The Hague
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Personal stories, distorted memories, lost moments and old traditions, traces of buildings: these are the elements that connect the diverse works in this exhibition. Below we focus on the work of Cameron Jamie.

Cameron Jamie (1969) is an American born artist who lives and works in Paris. Jamie works with video, performance, installation and drawing. He often starts from American history and culture and its strange or extreme excesses. Jamie explores the interplay between the mundane and the mythical, between ancient and modern rituals. The result is a mix of popular culture, contemporary folklore, ancient rituals and myths, or in the words of Ralph Rugoff: Jamie's "backyard anthropology". (Ralph Rugoff in CAMERON JAMIE, Hatje Kantz Verlag).

In Filmhuis Den Haag, the films BB (2000) and MASSAGE THE HISTORY (2007-2009) are screened. For the film BB (2000), Jamie spent two years as an ethnographer in the world of American "backyard wrestling". MASSAGE THE HISTORY is a documentary film giving a fascinating vision on the world of American urban "folk dance". Jamie followed over a period of two years a group of young men from the suburbs of Alabama who film themselves and their improbable, copulation-like dances and post these movies online. Like many of these movies, the living room is the setting where action takes place. The domestic turns into an imaginary stage for this trance-inducing dance. The soundtrack is from the New York group Sonic Youth.

The work moves from an anecdotal register to one of abstraction; extending outwards from the biographical, it becomes a generic representation of popular phenomena and cultural interaction. Jamie is interested in feeling the pulse of deeper drives, or kinds of human activity that appear in different time zones and in different historical eras.

[Edwin Carels on the work of Cameron Jamie in Afterall, issue 18, 2008].