Jeanne C. Finley – Involuntary Conversion 1991

In a time of “permanent pre-hostility”(peace) where an “energetic disassembly”(nuclear explosion) is imminent, a disembodied speaker who could be a hypnotist or a government spokesman talks about terror as a form of new government and a series of events that hint at an impending disaster. The iconic image of a fighter jet floating in the sky lends a video game-feel to the footage.The texture of television is used to make the images feel domestic and familiar. This apocalyptic linguistic comedy meditates on the relationship between language, meaning and social decay and is scripted from “double-speak” language found in a variety of media sources. Drawing its title from the Pentagon’s term for crash, Involuntary Conversion evokes the hollowness and free-floating anxiety that characterizes late 20th century culture. The mood is suspended somewhere between nightmare and deadpan and is propelled by a narrative as enigmatic as the language it exposes. This video is a revealing look at bureaucratic techno-speak decoded by Finley against a slow-motion collage of military imagery.

BIO: Jeanne C. Finley is a media artist who works in experimental and documentary forms including film, video, photography, installation, internet, and site specific public works. Her work has been exhibited in international institutions including the Guggenheim Museum, SF and NY Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum and the George Pompidou Center. She has been the recipient of many grants including a Rockefeller Media Arts Fellowship and the Guggenheim Fellowship.

Since 1989 she has worked in collaboration with John Muse on many installation and video projects including Manhole 452, 2011, Flatland, 2007, Clockwork, 2006, and Catapult, 2005. Finley was an Artist-in-Residence at the Camargo Foundation in Cassis France In 2008 and The Headlands center for the arts in 2005. In 2001 she received an Arts-Link fellowship to Sarajevo to create a film and website with Bosnian media artists. During 1990 Finley received a Fulbright Fellowship to Yugoslavia where she directed programs for Radio/TV Belgrade. In 1994 she was an Artist-in-Residence in Istanbul, Turkey through a grant from the Lila Wallace Readers Digest Foundation.