Thursday, March. 17, 2022 at 1pm, Shepard Hall room 408. Talk and presentation by Laura Parnes: “Tour Without End”
Laura Parnes’s Tour Without End (2014-2019) is a multi-platform installation that casts real-life musicians, artists, and actors as bands on tour, and expands into a cross-generational, Trump–era commentary on contemporary culture and politics. It features members of Gang Gang Dance, Le Tigre, The Julie Ruin, MEN, Eartheater, MGMT, Light Asylum, and more.
Shot in real environments and situations, the core group of players improvised based on semi-scripted scenes. Because many of these performers are legends themselves in the New York City downtown scene, they are archetypes playing archetypes. The work revels in the sometimes hilarious—but always complex—band dynamics that the characters endure while touring, collaborating, and aging in a youth-driven music industry. As the players move in and out of character, blending fiction and real life, the film moves in and out of non-linear narrative and historical document. Shot from 2014 to 2018 at over 15 DIY music spaces in and around New York City—many of which have since shuttered their doors—the film acts as an urgent time capsule for the rapidly gentrifying city.
In addition to the film, Tour Without End also highlights the extensive and growing archive of live performance in NYC shot during the four-year production schedule and the raw footage from improvised scenes, while portraits of performers taken by Justine Kurland are arranged in a grid. The film’s multitude of characters include: Wooster Group founder Kate Valk, Jim Fletcher (The NYC Players), musicians Lizzi Bougatsos, (Gang Gang Dance), Kathleen Hanna (The Julie Ruin), Brontez Purnell (The Younger Lovers), Eileen Myles, Alexandra Drewchin (Eartheater), Nicole Eisenman, K8 Hardy, Johanna Fateman (Le Tigre) Shannon Funchess (Light Asylum), JD Samson (MEN), Gary Indiana, Kembra Pfahler, (Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black), Rachel Mason, Tom McGrath, Matthew Asti (MGMT), Becca Blackwell, Christen Clifford, Alessandra Genovese (Crush), Rogelio Ramos (Love Pig), Kenya Robinson (Cheeky LaShae) and Neon Music (Youth Quake).
Laura Parnes’ multi-platform, lens-based projects craft darkly comedic narratives of trauma and repressed memory around mass-culture experiences and youthful rites of passage. Using historical, literary and popular culture based references, she addresses issues related to cultural production and societal malaise.
Laura has screened and exhibited widely in the US and internationally, including at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Miami Museum of Contemporary Art, The International Film Festival Rotterdam and Museo Nacional Centro De Arte Reina Sofia. Recently she had solo exhibitions at LA><, Participant Inc. and solos screenings at the Wexner Center for the Arts and The Museum of Modern Art.
Parnes has taught and lectured at numerous institutions including Harvard University, Columbia University, UCLA, and Yale University. She currently teaches in the MFA departments at Parsons and SVA and is a visiting artist at Bard College. She received her BFA from the Tyler School of Art, Temple University.