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Program : Installations


Qualities Of Life: Living in the Radiant Cold


Qualities Of Life: Living in the Radiant Cold, 2022

Video installation, 17 min

Artist : James Richards

Venue : Jim Thompson Art Center

James Richards’s expanded practice examines themes of obsession, desire, and technology through archival research, found footage, and extensive collaboration. His latest film is a culmination of a series of his recent experiments and collaborative projects centered around liminality as well as the aesthetics and politics of the invisible. The work emerged from Richards’s re-digestion of his recent video work collaged with film footage by his frequent collaborator Leslie Thornton and daily photographs by late artist Horst Ademeit (1937—2010) that were intended to systematically capture “cold rays”, which he believed affected his body and his surroundings. 

Whizzing in and out of various ranges, digital and analogue technologies, the images in Qualities of Life tremble, morph, and leak into one another, intimating the unsettled edges between body, camera, and the image. The camera’s endoscopic gaze maps and penetrates the skin of still lifes, bodies, and domestic interiors with the help of x-rays, and flatbed and MRI scans, to access negative spaces imperceptible to the human eye. In a world comprised of an unending stream of information and images, Richards’s discombobulating sequence of images moves across various affective registers to break down abject notions of waste, disease, and decay. The haunting undercurrents of paranoia vibrate through Richards’s soundtrack and forensic approach to medical paraphernalia, life’s detritus, and sewage systems. The work lays bare the fear and desire to render visible or make present information that while unseen is the evidence of a corporeal existence. 

Courtesy the artist; Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin; Estate of Horst Ademeit; and Fondazione In Between Art Film, Venice.