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Michael Robinson’s works bring together images and sounds from a wide range of original and pop-culture sources, forging new and uncanny correspondences. He blends film and video to create lyrical narratives that are equally opulent and restrained, their parent materials pulsing in and out of abstraction. For These Hammers Don’t Hurt Us, footage of Elizabeth Taylor’s 1963 Hollywood epic Cleopatra is seamlessly combined with images of Michael Jackson’s mid-1990s Egyptomania, culminating in a mesmerizing phantasmagoria of hypnotic color strobe. Line Describing Your Mom—its title a cheeky nod to Anthony Mccall’s canonical “solid-light” film Line Describing a Cone (1974)—sets altered footage of amateur liturgical choreography to the sounds of a woman’s YouTube confessional. Here and elsewhere, Robinson makes familiar media strange again, exploring collective memory through a poetics of devotion and loss.
Michael Robinson’s work is being screened in the Museum’s second floor film & video gallery March 7 through 11.