Marfa Dialogues

Artists’ Film International

Featuring LA artist Dan Finsel. Selected by Erin Kimmel.

20 July - 19 August 2012


Artists’ Film International
20 July 2012 – 19 August 2012
Opening Reception: 20 July 2012, 6-8 pm

featuring I could be anybody, I could be somebody.
by Dan Finsel


Participating artists and institutions:

Alejandro Cesarco selected by Fundacion Proa, Buenos Aries, Brazil
Liu Chaung selected by Para/Site, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Anetta Mona Chișa and Lucia Tkáĉova selected by n.b.k Video-Forum, Berlin, Germany
Gianluca & Massimiliano De Serio selected by GAMeC, Bergamo, Italy
Karim Debbagh selected by Cinematheque de Tangier, Tanger, Morocco
Ben Hagari selected by New Media Center, Haifa, Israel
Sefer Memisoglu selected by Istanbul Modern, Istanbul, Turkey
Aleksandar Jestrovic Jamesdin selected by Belgrade Cultural Center, Belgrade, Serbia
Sriwhana Spong selected by City Gallery Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
Corin Sworn selected by Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK
Nguyen Trinh Thi selected by San Art, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam


Organized in conjunction with Whitechapel Gallery, London, Ballroom Marfa is pleased to present the fourth season of Artists’ Film International, a program that showcases international artists working with film, video and animation. This year, Ballroom Marfa’s Associate Curator, Erin Kimmel, has selected LA-based Dan Finsel whose video installation I could be anybody, I could be somebody. is featured in the south gallery. Additionally, each of the eleven participating institutions has selected one artist from their region whose works will be screened as part of the international program. Ballroom Marfa’s center gallery has been transformed into an interactive screening room for the viewing of the entire selection of works for the duration of the exhibition.

Originally mounted in 2010, I could be anybody, I could be somebody. centers around the video I Would Love Farrah, Farrah, Farrah (I), a cut-up, restructured document of a series of performances by a fictional but often unstable character — Dan Finsel — whose subjectivity is constructed from a displaced perversion of Finsel’s “authentic” self. Mirroring the structure of a sitcom but in front of a chroma-key green screen, Finsel repeats lines he has culled from the annals of teenage melodrama, specifically those of 90210‘s Brenda Walsh and characters played by the late Farrah Fawcett. The elasticity of Finsel’s emotions, severed from any backstory, combined with brute repetition, lends the peculiar address unexpected moments of philosophical clarity. Appropriated hysterics such as “the past is the past, the future is the future,” and “I’m a private person, I’m shy about people knowing things,” open up into abstract epithets and political slogans that question the illusions inherent in themes as far ranging as time and reality television.

Existing as an embodiment of pure self-analysis and pop culture, Finsel’s practice reverses Lee Strasberg’s method acting techniques by immersing himself in the psychological trauma of an amalgamous and performed identity, thereby destabilizing and disrupting the relationship between the constructions of the subject as production and performance. Displayed on a flat screen monitor opposite a swath of fluorescent lights and situated on a white reflective Rosco Show Floor, the installation is an idealized representation, a theatricalized mirror of the physical set used in the video (Finsel’s bedroom in a Chinatown walk-up).

To inaugurate Artists’ Film International, Ballroom Marfa will host an opening reception on Friday, 20 July, from 6-8 pm.

Listen to the radio interview with Dan Finsel, Wednesday, July 18, 2012 at 10am. Dan will be a guest during the live weekly interview program Talk at Ten on KRTS 93.5 FM or streaming live at marfapublicradio.org.

    Listen to Marfa Public Radio’s Talk at 10 interview with artist Dan Finsel and Associate Curator Erin Kimmel from 18 July 2012.

    This program has been made possible by the generous support of the Brown Foundation, Inc., Houston, Patrick & Lindsey Collins and Ballroom Marfa members. Special thanks to Rocky Barnette, Sean Di Ianni, Katy Rose Elsasser, Cory Lovell, Baker Montgomery, Riley O’Bryan, Ignacio Perez Meruane, Rosa McElheny, Richard Telles Fine Art, Los Angeles, and Ryan Young.

    In-kind support provided by Quality Quinn; Red Car Wine, Sebastopol, CA; St. Arnold Brewing Company, Houston, TX and Tito’s Vodka, Austin, TX.