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Stanya Kahn
Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Culver City
Recommendation by Michael Shaw

Stanya Kahn, “Stand in the Stream,” film still, 2017

Stanya Kahn's 57-minute video opus, "Stand in the Stream," is ambitious on several levels. There is its alternating of personal content with viral content; its sound design, a product of the range of recording sources employed (cell phone cam, large format HD, multiple real-time video streams, among other formats); then there is its attempt to capture a zeitgeist. It might not be watchable were it not for the periodic breakaways to personal narratives, which include a visual travel diary of sorts, as well as an arc documenting the artist's mother and her gradual dying and death. The pumping and propelling score, which Kahn composed with musician Alexia Riner, also engages. The sensational viral shots, “Democracy Now” program segments, and the extensive protest footage would be all too much if that we are there is. Pluralistic as it is, it's not only watchable but perhaps counterintuitively cathartic. And, as the closing credits will tell you if you make it there, the piece is dedicated to the youth, whether that be Kahn's own child or kids in general. They are more at home in its consumption of the live-streaming and the viral. Shot since 2011, it may not have begun as an indictment of our now troubled socio-political climate, but it certainly ends there. From the death and burial of the artist's mother to the confrontational and dancing protesters alike, there's an inherent message to stand strong, albeit one that comes amid an acknowledgement of the chaos that surrounds us, and will surround us still.

Vielmetter Los Angeles

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