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5 Experimental Video Artists to Keep an Eye On in 2016

Jeremy Bailey, Jillian Mayer + Lucas Leyva, Reed + Rader, Jon Rafman, and Jacolby Satterwhite give us their projections for the rest of this year.

Music of Objective Romance, Jacolby Satterwhite, 2015, courtesy of the artist

It isn't risky to say that 2015 was heavy in terms of video production. Films and shorts, music videos, video installations, and even transmedia performances astonished us over the past 12 months, opening new perspectives to the ever-expanding medium. Thanks to strong narratives, conceptual storytellings and evolving devices and tools, forward-thinking creators explored a wide range of themes, using effective and creative ways to tackle topics, share ideas, and fulfill their video art goals. Now, it’s time to look ahead.

Looking forward to seeing what new delights 2016 will treat us to, we asked a few of our favorite experimental video artists to tease us with their predictions, update us about what they're working on, and tell us what this year should look like for them—it should come as no surprise that VR's big on everyone's mind. Here's what else Jeremy Bailey, Jillian Mayer + Lucas Leyva, Reed + Rader, Jon Rafman, and Jacolby Satterwhite came up with.

Jeremy Bailey

Untitled Self Portrait, Jeremy Bailey, 2015, courtesy of the artist

Toronto-Based "famous new media artist" Jeremy Bailey had a busy 2015, launching The You Museum, showcasing new works and performances, giving courses at NYU, and generally enjoying his life. This year, Bailey will enhance his augmented reality explorations beginning with an upcoming show. “This exact moment I'm focused on work for a solo show opening this spring at Pari Nadimi in Toronto featuring new gestural software for making dripping wet feminist abstract expressionist video paintings,” he tells The Creators Project, adding that 2016 will also be the year during which his wife and him going to give birth to their first child in VR. “I'm hoping she lets me be pregnant,” he teases.

Regarding 2016, Bailey predicts that “Authenticity is dead (again.) The medium is the body. Embrace teleportation, decontextualization and speculative identities. What have you done with my hands?”

Jillian Mayer & Lucas Leyva

Swing Space, 2013, courtesy of the artists

2016 should look like "that" for the Miami-based duo consisting of artist Jillian Mayer and writer Lucas Leyva. The multitalented duo—whose works range from web projects, to music videos, experimental theater, film, and installation art—will unveil a whole bunch of kickass work, including a talk show for people and their pets, a Cuban kaiju feature film, an omniboat feature film, a Jar-Jar Binks VR experience, and a short sequel to Vanilla Ice's classic Cool As Ice. Individually, Mayer has art shows in LA and Miami, while Leyva is writing a book.

True visionaries, they tell us that “Buttholes and farts are very zeitgeisty and VR will allow us all to finally step inside mediocre N64 games.” The future looks bright.

Reed & Rader

WINTER 360°, Pamela Reed + Matthew Rader, 2015, courtesy of the artists

More cats, more basketball, and more gardening—these are the 2016 goals for the New York-based duo consisting of Pamela Reed and Matthew Rader. They will also continue developing more works with Unreal Engine and virtual reality technology, and will unveil CAT SHOWDOWN, a VR video they’re currently working on. “It’s a surreal place filled with mice trying to escape the underbelly of a dark sinister world controlled by cats,” Reed + Rader explains.  

According to them, virtual reality will continue to increase in popularity. “Brands hip to new trends will take advantage of this, although the real obstacle is creating something immersive and VR tailored,” they explain. ”More artists will start using gaming engines,” they also suggest, insisting also that the lines between film and gaming will continue to blur.

Jon Rafman

You are Standing in An Open Field (Valley), Jon Rafman, 2016, courtesy of the artist

Jon Rafman should be satisfied with 2015. The Montreal-based multimedia artist and jack-of-all-trades continued his examinations into the convergence of new technologies, contemporary life, and modern behaviors, but didn't stop there. He showcased several exhibitions and new works, most notably The attraction of virtual communities, his first exhibition in a Canadian museum—this author considers it one of the most interesting shows ever at the MAC Montreal—and also Sticky Drama, a psychedelic video clip made in collaboration with Daniel Lopatin for Oneohtrix Point Never's stellar Garden of Delete album.

Rafman kicks this year off with a solo exhibition in Münster, Germany that started a few days ago. Upcoming projects should allow him to deepen his investigation into technology's influences on the modern human condition. “I'm currently working on a new VR project, and several immersive video installations,” he tells us.

“As far as predictions for 2016 go, I think oxygen bars will make a big comeback," he concludes.

Jacolby Satterwhite

Leopard Interstate, Jacolby Satterwhite, 2015, courtesy of the artist

Spending most of the last year designing, building, method acting, and researching, 2016 should be prolific for the Southern-born New York-based multimedia artist Jacolby Satterwhite. “I am working on a feature length film CGI scored by a concept electronic album that outsources its vocals and lyrics from folk songs recorded on cassette tape in South Carolina between 1994 - 1998, ” Satterwhite tells us. “The film is called En Plein Air: Music of Objective Romance.

Satterwhite’s work constantly engages its public with identity & social issues and supports the queer community, and 2016 promises to bring consequential moves. “A positive trend this year seems to involve an expanding window and audience for experimental queer writers, electronic musicians, poets, fashion designers and misc. creatives,” he says. “I'm seeing a massively blurred gender binary reflect on the way music sounds, structures are broken, eccentricities and idiosyncrasies are pushing forward to the mainstream." He concludes with a prediction: the term "niche" will become obsolete in the same way "sellout" did. Stay tuned—we'll keep you abreast of his upcoming works. 

What performers are you looking forward to this year? Let us know @CreatorsProject or in the comments below. 

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