Texas-based artist Peter Rand took footage from a Donald Judd exhibition at Tina Kim gallery in New York and overlaid sound from the Double Rainbow viral video. It’s a simple concept, but it works so well (as evidenced by 20,000 views to date). Watch Rand’s video here.
Rand agreed to answer a few questions about his work via email.
No Country for Old Interns: Why Donald Judd?
Peter Rand: I’d argue that the degree to which we search for (and are sometimes able to find) meaning in objects through association is one of our defining qualities as humans. The elevated state that this awareness can bring us to is observable; the viral Double Rainbow video being just one example. So my first question is, why was Donald Judd so adamant about making a work that requires us to ignore this precious faculty?
Millions of people have laughed at Paul Vasquez (a.k.a Double Rainbow guy) for the meaning and inspiration he was able to find in an object (a double rainbow). How silly he was for being so moved. But what happens to artistic expression when we readily accept that it should, by nature, be meaningless? What happens when being deeply affected by our environment is laughable?
A lot of well known sites (Rhizome, for example) have posted your video. What do you think about all the attention it has received?
Other than the fact that it deals with two massive commonplaces that often come up during Google searches, I think the mashup video is popular because we recognize that Judd’s work is incapable of garnering such a response. Some of us also know that that’s precisely what he intended, and for once, we don’t have to take it so seriously. The popularity of the video is also a testament to the fact that art has become democratic, and that creative representation is not something to be scoffed at (concepts Mr. Judd would’ve been opposed to).
What can you tell me about your other video work?
I hope my own work blatantly associates with things outside of itself. I can only hope that the end result is more than just the piece. If I thought it was impossible to clarify the meaning of particular objects and events in life through making work, I’d stop.
I’ve been working with video for about 10 years and so far the mashup video has gotten roughly 60 times the viewers of anything else I’ve screened, in any environment, ever. The fact that the Double Rainbow/Donald Judd mashup video is simple, cheeky and not really mine is undeniable. It might be easy to conclude that perhaps my other pieces just aren’t very good. But I really don’t care, because after all, the piece isn’t the point, the work is.
I’m going to ask the same question you pose underneath the Double Rainbow/Donald Judd mashup on Vimeo: When’s the last time art made you feel like this?
The question "whens the last time art made you feel like this," is not necessarily implying that art should aim to make you feel like double rainbow guy. But, hopefully it alludes to the notion that it might be possible, and if it is possible, let’s see that as an option—let’s take that seriously.