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Jon Rafman, Mainsqueeze (2014)

By Domenico Quaranta
Dismagazine

Hundreds of people stuck in a giant swimming pool passively floating to the rhythm of artificial waves. The poor resolution of the found footage muddles them into a contextless and faceless crowd. Nobody tries to escape the crowd, or go against the current. They are trapped but happy enough. It’s like Dante’s Inferno but without the drama. Just the people floating in the mud.

The final scene of Mainsqueeze captures “a contemporary atmosphere or mood” which sets the present as a time out of joint, encapsulated by the washing machine that tears itself apart over the course of the film. Rafman poses the present escape from the real towards the simulated as the result of a general feeling of turmoil that leads to flight rather than revolt. In the video, the first readable line of text is written on the forehead of a sleeping drunk man at the beginning of the film: “LOSER”. He smiles, and we are led to wonder who the loser really is.

Yet Rafman is not making a particular ethical statement: “Mainsqueeze expresses a moral condition or atmosphere without making a moral judgment. I gravitate towards communities like 4chan because I see in them a compelling mix of attraction and repulsion. This ambivalence is reflected in the current cultural moment.”


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VIDEO ARCHIVE
  • Andy Warhol—Interview (1966) LINK
  • Ant Farm - Media Burn (1975) LINK PREVIEW
  • Arena - Amy WinehouseThe Day She Came to Dingle LINK
  • Ai Weiwei, Without Fear or Favor (BBC) LINK
  • Ai Weiwei - Ordos 100 LINK
  • Beautiful Loosers (2008) LINK
  • Carolee Schneemann: Meat Joy (1964) LINK
  • Christopher Alexander: Patterns in Architecture (1996) LINK
  • David Cronenberg: Crash (1996) LINK
  • Francis Bacon. Interview by David Sylvester (1963) LINK
  • Francis Bacon. The South Bank Show LINK
  • Garry Winogrand—in ASX
  • Glitch Art LINK
  • Guy Debord. La société du spectacle (1973) LINK
  • Holly Herndon—Chorus [Official Video] LINK
  • Jon Rafman. Mainsqueeze, 2014 LINK 
  • Jon Rafman. Still Life (Betamale), Jon Rafman + Oneohtrix Point Never, 2013 LINK 
  • Jon Rafman. A Man Digging, 2013 LINK 
  • Jon Rafman. You, the World and I, Jon Rafman, 2010 LINK 
  • Larry Clark, Kids (1995) LINK
  • Ryder RippsArt Whore Ace Hotel (2014) LINK
  • Robert Williams Mr. Bitchin - 2013 LINK
  • Robert Williams' Lowbrow Art --Can It Survive Museum Culture? LINK
  • Robert Williams. Conceptual Realism - in the service of the hypothetical LINK 
  • The Confessions of Robert Crumb (1987) LINK
  • William Kentridge | Felix in Exile LINK
  • Women Art Revolution (2010). Director: Lynn Hershman-Leeson LINK

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