May 5, 2023
Diaries, notes, & sketches: Dicky Bahto & Mona Varichon
Artists Television Access
922 Valencia St, San Francisco
doors at 8 pm / show starts promptly at 8:30 pm
This program presents recent video works by Dicky Bahto and Mona Varichon that variously utilize diary filmmaking, found imagery/sounds, and collaborations with their parents.
Mark Toscano of Los Angeles Filmforum says of Bahto’s films: “His varied and complex engagement with moving image and photographic media is steeped in a deeply felt humanity and empathy, manifesting through his inspired photographic eye and frequently direct interaction with and appreciation of the material vitality of film and cinema. His films achieve heightened emotional states of great intimacy and poetry, often channeling the uniquely aleatory qualities of film to carry a sensuality and spirituality hovering in the space between loving depiction and vaporous abstraction.”
Marion Vasseur Raluy says of Varichon’s: “Her works – whose approach can be compared to that of fan art – are certainly tributes to various personalities that she admires, from her mother to Assa Traoré. In this alternation between popular public figures and anonymous individuals, she tries to understand their motivations and desires by revealing their mechanisms of struggle as well as their political opinions. From English to French, from the private to the public sphere, or even social networks, M. Varichon produces video collages that make it possible to ‘make people speak’ and ‘make them hear’ differently. In this way she is reviving a heritage that has partly disappeared: that of beginning with the voices of others rather than her own.”
Dicky Bahto will be present to introduce the program.
program (not in order)
Dicky Bahto – A play in black and white (2022) Super 8 to video, 17 minutes
A few years ago my baba asked me to “make a film dedicated to him, about him, starring him.” I’ve finally fulfilled his request. Built around a reel of Super 8 home movie footage I made while playing backgammon with him, the film takes visual and conceptual motifs from the game itself and elaborates on them in a series of visual variations.
Mona Varichon – 2k19 Weather Diaries ou La météo du monde d’avant (2022) 28 minutes
Part of Varichon’s ongoing Insta Stories Archive series, in which she uses the Instagram stories of strangers to recreate in real time events ranging from the world historic to the banal from multiple perspectives. Made with a wink to George Kuchar’s Weather Diaries, Varichon traces her movement and personal experiences through the videos of others, with the idea of weather as drama a recurrent motif, creating a self-reflective and personal diary entirely from the disposable videos of others.
Mona Varichon – No I Was Thinking Of Life (CC) (2018) 12 minutes
Part of a video series stemming from various phone discussions between the artist and her mother. “…long distance, loss, improvisatory laws, and bilingualism each tie in as evasive subjects that find family resemblance in their total lack of control and risk of miscommunication. It’s straight out of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross” – Sabrina Tarasoff, Flash Art International, July 2018
Dicky Bahto – excerpts from what’s a life (concert diary) (2019) approx. 18 minutes
what’s a life? is a project that developed over the course of a few years incorporating material recorded on Super 8 film, cell phone video, and audio recordings. The recordings are a mix of portraits of musicians as well as diary material focused on sound and music. While the project was “alive” and I was still accumulating new material, I would present it as a multimedia installation or as expanded cinema performances involving multiple television screens, video and Super 8 projection, cassette tapes, and mp3 audio playback, editing the material anew for each presentation and incorporating varying amounts of chance and site-specificity into each version. After a few years of letting the work live, breath, and grow, I decided to stop it’ life in this form, and have since edited an hour and a half long single channel video work, some sections of which may be shown independently.
Dicky Bahto lives in San Francisco. He has exhibited work utilizing still and motion picture photography, sound, and performance at a variety of museums, galleries, microcinemas, film festivals, conferences, alternative spaces, and scenic locations spanning the Northern Hemisphere, from the Museum of Modern Art in New York to a series of nooks, crannies, and underbrush along and under Sunset Boulevard. Recent projects include a 72-minute long film, For Liz Harris, which accompanied several live performances by Grouper on her winter 2022 tour in Europe and the United States; the film A play in black & white which combines home movie footage of his father with visual variations based on the game backgammon, commissioned by the television station Canal180 in Portugal with a composition scored for it by Matmos; a realization on video of Mieko Shiomi’s Mirror Piece for an exhibition of Fluxus performance works at The Getty Museum in 2021; the virtual experimental music performance group known as The Ensemble Whose Name is Uhhhhhmm… with Erika Bell, Morgan Gerstmar, and Stephanie Cheng Smith, which exists entirely within the video game Animal Crossing New Horizons; an on-going multimedia collaboration with pianist Lolita Emmanuel exploring the relationship between traditional and contemporary practices in Assyrian visual and musical arts; and he is currently working on a three-hour long film to accompany a performance by Sarah Davachi at MOMA in New York this coming September. He has a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute (RIP) and an MFA from the University of California, Riverside. He currently teaches in the film department at the California College of the Arts.
Mona Varichon lives and works in Paris. She received her MFA from ArtCenter College of Design (Pasadena, CA) in 2018. She wonders where and for whom artworks live, and whether her work can exist online or in a community before it exists in a gallery or museum. She recently presented performances at the Centre Pompidou (Paris, France) and the Capc musée d’art contemporain (Bordeaux, France), and her work has been exhibited at Les Urbaines Festival (Lausanne, Switzerland), Alienze (Vienna, Austria), the Sifang Art Museum Satellite (Shanghai, China), the National Gallery (Prague, Czech Republic), Cocotte (Treignac, France), Balice Hertling (Paris, France), and in Los Angeles at The Vanity Gallery, in lieu, the Redcat Theatre, the Echo Park Film Center, and The Egyptian Theater. She was recently a resident at Laura Owens’s Studio of the South in Arles, France and is currently translating to French the memoirs of American artists George and Mike Kuchar.