Paradox Rules: Videos by Joshua Thorson

Paradox Rules: Videos by Joshua Thorson

EMPAC Theater -- FREE

October 27, 2010 8:00 PM - 9:30 PM

Joshua Thorson's narrative video work hybridizes Hollywood genre and convention with home-movie DIY-style shooting and abstraction.  He uses mostly non-actors in their own living environments to create a kind of acting-as-other-as-self in which the real life of the person playing the part intercuts whatever the narrative construct may be.  Thematically, Thorson's video work involves diverse subjects, such as UFOs, religion, childhood trauma, online culture, and the loss or illusion of Modernist ideals.  His works have been screened internationally, in venues such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Rotterdam International Film Festival, the New Museum, the Centre Pompidou, MIX Festival, CinemaTexas, among others.

Thorson has been working with different conceptual models of the philosophical subject in order to find a point of synthesis, a synthesis of subject-object relations through the acknowledgement of the repressed or simply incomprehensible non-sense that precedes sense, in order to both look back on the history of civilization as a empirico-psychic process and locate a subjective positionality that allows for the creation of a minor culture--a culture which forms truer and more complete representations of human civilization and the psyche and works against and opposes a major culture of the given, which has a historically vested interest in monetizing, subsuming, and eventually eliminating the subject.

Evolution is not necessarily a search for knowledge or transformation through technology but rather an acknowledgement of what eludes knowledge or sense; it begins with an understanding and acceptance (in non-transcendent terms) of the reality of the incomprehensible "non-sense" or "nothing-whatever" that precedes sense and being, the "nothing" that allows for the construction of the fiction of the self and the other and keeps them apart--finally here arriving at the agency of the minor and the creation of new images, ideas, and ways of constructing a civilization that diverges with the precedents set by our own psyches, topologically--from child to adult, from molecule to culture, up to our current historical moment--as manifest on both the subjective level in the ego and beyond, and throughout the history of human civilization as it has thus far been realized.

Thorson is currently working on a PhD in Electronic Art at RPI, which, as a creative component, involves a feature length video elucidating an empirico-psychic look at subjective becoming and its relationship to the becoming of culture or civilization through fiction, as well as a curated video series about minor cinema as manifest in narrative video art from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s.  Thorson studied Cultural Studies and Film Studies at the University of Minnesota and received an MFA in Film/Video at Bard College.

Videos screened:

No Downlink, 2003, 7.5 minutes

Rock and a Hard Place, 2006, 23 minutes

UFO Days, 2008, 8 minutes

World Contact, 2004, 14 minutes

Protest Rushes (excerpt), 2009-?, 3 minutes

New Testament, 2007, 20 minutes

Divorce 2.0, 2010, 14 minutes

Horizon, 2010, 13 minutes


For press information, including stills, please contact Joshua Thorson at

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