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Special Reconnaissance_

Curated by Dylan J. Gauthier

November 09 2006 - January 19 2007
OPENING RECEPTION: Thursday, November 9, 2006, from 6-9pm.
Participating Artists:

Carrie Dashow
Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI)
Darina Karpov
Darren Sylvester
Ellie Ga
Haley Hughes
J Henry Fair
James Howard Kunstler
Jenny Marketou
Robin Treadwell
The Folk Songs Project
Vera Brunner-Sung


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"Special Reconnaissance: Actions conducted by special operations forces to obtain or verify, by visual observation or other collection methods, information concerning capabilities, intentions and activities…to secure data concerning the meteorological, hydrographic or geographic characteristics of a particular area." - American Department of Defense Glossary, 2004.

Gigantic ArtSpace presents SPECIAL RECONNAISSANCE_, a group show investigating the construction of place at the intersection of conflict, narrative and memory. Blending elements of surveillance and performance, expedition and revelation, the exhibition asks: "How do we define place and how do we find ourselves in it?" Following the root of 'reconnaissance,' which is 'to take back the land,' the title of the exhibition takes the word back from the Department of Defense, just as these sixteen artists endeavor to retake place from the forces of ruin, oblivion and decay.

Participating Artists:

Vera Brunner Sung's film Longshore creates a portrait of her childhood neighborhood and reveals a moment in the history of a street and its residents.

The Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI) presents a portable slide lecture documenting their study of the uses, purposes, and perception of the American landscape.

Carrie Dashow exhibits her limited-edition silk-screened book, Under Island, a lyrical rendering of the history of Roosevelt Island, featuring a shape-note singing composition by Jesse Pearlman Karlsberg.

The aerial photography of J Henry Fair alternates between abstract/aesthetic and concrete/political realities to depict the environmental impact of coal mining in West Virginia.

Manchester:Peripheral (phase one), is the second installment of the The Folk Songs Project, a transnational arts initiative created by Alastair Dant, Tom Davis and David Gunn, which fuses interactive art with local participation and extensive field recording to explore identity and the urban experience in cities and regions around the world.

Vanished places and missing pieces are the subject of Ellie Ga's Catalogue of the Lost (and other Revelations), created during her tenure as the Artist-in-Residence at the venerable Explorers Club in New York City.

The work of Haley Hughes, a self-taught painter, creates spaces of repose to quell the sensational violence of global newspaper headlines.

Darina Karpov's intricate watercolors weave fragments of the detritus of day-to-day life into a landscape of familiar and not-so-familiar proportions.

Better known for his writings and outspoken criticism of America's ‘mutilated' cities and the devastating mismanagement of this nation's vast land holdings, James Howard Kunstler paints those very un-idyllic fixtures of the American junk landscape: strip malls, parking lots, expressways and fast food restaurants.

Jenny Marketou's installation Reds Flock over the Block uses meteorological balloons, wireless technologies, and live surveillance to create a playful environment which combines moving images, human existence, and the contemporary media spectacle, while addressing the darker aspects of mediation— disembodiment and loss of privacy in public space.

Red76's Encountering Revolution, a continuing series of dinners, walks, and an installation of hand-made maps to revolutionary points-of-interest, asks the public to join them in discussing how we encounter revolutionary notions within our geography.

Darren Sylvester revisits Asbury Park, New Jersey, to pay homage to the geography of an American idol with his video work Time Keeps Running, Never Changing, Never Ageing,

Robin Treadwell's The Land of Lakes presents the possibility of supermarket icons stripped bare of the Trademark, leaving familiar landscapes washed clean of ownership.

Public Events

Saturday, November 11, 2006, 1:00 PM

Encountering Revolution, Thomas Paine a brunch-time talk facilitated by Red76.Adam Kleinman will speak to his father David Kleinman about that most obscure of founding fathers, Thomas Paine. The discussion may concern general commentaries on the work of Thomas Paine, his life, and also his current stock in the hearts and minds of contemporary American politics. Right now, David Kleinman is thinking about joining the Thomas Paine Society, which will also be a topic of discussion.

Thursday, November 16, 2006, 7:30 PM Ellie Ga presents Catalogue of the Lost (and other Revelations), a visual essay on ‘the lost and the found' in the Explorers Club's archives. Although a primary function of the archive is to protect its holdings, to ensure its longevity through cataloguing and proper storage, she will narrate her process of locating the breakdown of this function: a tribute to the missing, lost, and unattended pieces. Focusing on images and objects from the Explorers Club's collections, as well as historical anecdotes from early Arctic explorations, her presentation will look at what is revealed through such attempts to track down the missing pieces.

Thursday, January 11, 2007 (snow date: January 18)
5:00-7:00 PM Shape Note Singing workshop with Carrie Dashow and Jesse Pearlman Karlsberg.
7:30-8:30 PM Under Island, a participatory shape note signing performance from Dashow's ongoing project "The Subliminal History of New York State." About the project: "As Roosevelt Island gains sight through a lighthouse, first built as an illusionary fort by an insane inmate, the island now sees as well as is seen. With new vision the island develops a desire to leave the East River. In an alternate time, condensing past, present and future, it embarks upon the Empire State's Route of progress, to the Hudson, and onto the Erie Canal. Eventually finding itself in the shallow dead waters of Lake Erie, known for its torrential waterspouts."

Curated by Dylan J. Gauthier:

Dylan J. Gauthier is Associate Director of Gigantic ArtSpace.