Professor of Modern Culture & Media:
Modern Culture and Media
Phone: +1 401 863 3988
Tony Cokes has research interests in video production, multimedia installation, documentary theory and practice, modes of criticism, and critical uses of popular culture.
Tony Cokes is a post-conceptualist whose practice foregrounds social critique. His video, installation, and sound works recontextualize appropriated materials to reflect upon our production as subjects under capital. His recent projects often take the form of text animations with sound functioning as a constitutive, intertextual element, complicating the visual. Cokes' works have appeared in exhibitions at The Museum of Modern Art, NYC, MACBA, Barcelona, Spain, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France, ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany, and La Cinémathèque Française, Paris. His numerous media festival screenings include Oberhausen Short Film Festival (1993, 2005), International Film Festival Rotterdam (2001 2006, 2009 - 10), Seoul Film & Net Festival (2005), and Rencontres Internationales Paris-Berlin-Madrid (2003 2010). Cokes' projects have been supported by grants and fellowships from The Rockefeller Foundation, John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, Creative Capital Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, and New York State Council on the Arts. For the 2008-9 academic year he was a Resident Scholar / Artist-in-Residence at The Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles, CA. Cokes is a Professor in Media Production, Department of Modern Culture and Media at Brown University, Providence, RI.
In January 2005 I exhibited a seven-channel video installation and audio database containing the complete Pop Manifestos series. The work was commissioned for a group exhibition "Murmur" at TENT from January 26 February 26, 2005 in association with the Rotterdam International Film Festival. After its successful premiere, this project has been exhibited at Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen (MuHKA), Belgium, Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst, Bremen, Germany, Seoul Net & Film Festival, Seoul, Korea, and Images Festival, Toronto, Canada. The video elements were also purchased for a private collection in Germany. In addition, in September 2005 I was invited to participate in the Seoul Net & Film Festival as a member of the jury for the International Competition. Multiple videotapes from the series have also been shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Lyon, France; Temple Gallery, Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, PA; Cloth Hall, Ypres, Belgium; and Sarai, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi, India. Currently I am negotiating regarding a possible updating / expansion of the Pop Manifestos installation project during spring 2007.
Pop Manifestos short description Tony Cokes 11.04
A group of short essays about pop music I wrote during 1997-98 led me to produce a series of videotapes called Pop Manifestos: "AD Vice" (1999), "2@"(2000), "3#" (2001), "6^" (2001), and "5%" (2001). The Pop Manifestos blur the boundaries between critical analysis, amateur historiography, and common advertising tropes. In making the videos, I play the roles of artist, collector, curator, marketer, and critic. The Pop Manifestos video installation features a large projection of the final work in the series, "1!" (2004), accompanied by six monitors displaying each of the previous series videotapes, including two new chapters "headphones" and "pause" (2004,) and an audio archive excerpting 100+ CDs I collected over five years 1997 - 2002.
My work on "the return of evil," a series of short videotapes reflecting upon American political culture before and after the events of September 11, 2001 continues. Seven works have been completed so far ("Evil" 2003, "Evil.2/3: Black September," "Evil.7: iraq.deadly.chronology," "Evil.8: Unseen," "Evil.9: Fundamental Changes" 2004, "Evil.10: W2tDotR," and "Evil.6: Faking" 2005.) "Evil.7, 8, & 9" were completed as a result of my spring 2004 sabbatical and premiered together in the 2005 Rotterdam International Film Festival. Since then individual works have been exhibited in a number of international media festivals and group art exhibitions including: Oberhausen Short Film Festival, Oberhausen, Germany' 16th- Impakt Media Festival, Utrecht, NL; Rencontres Internationales Paris-Berlin. Paris, France & Berlin, Germany; VideoEx International Media Festival. Zurich, Switzerland; ObjectNotFound Project Room, Monterrey, Mexico; and Sarai, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi, India. Each work features heavy use of animated text (timelines of various kinds, calendars of worldwide political events, quotations from scholars and politicians on topics such as the reasons for the Iraq invasion, the use of torture at Abu Ghraib prison, and the return of evil as a concept in contemporary politics) and a variety of contemporary popular music. The series continues to expand with support from Brown's Office of the Vice President for Research fund (OVPR), and I contemplate producing at least five additional works over the next two years, each approximately three to ten minutes in length. Planned episode themes include: a close reading of the Department of Homeland Security's color-coded terror "alert" system, the Bush Administration's response to the recent Hurricane Katrina disaster, the manipulation of political rhetoric by the Reagan Administration, and the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
In summary, the Evil series is a small attempt to think about events and issues most Americans disavow. My European friends ask why most U.S. voters prefer to believe a story they want to hear (our good lives and innocence threatened by "evil-doers," for example), over an analysis of America's actions, history, ideology in a global context. Perhaps most Americans don't really want to know what produced this country (slavery, genocide ), what the U.S. does in the Iraq wars, or has done in Vietnam, the Middle East, and Latin America. It often seems that people outside the U.S. can articulate and analyze our history, policies, and interests, but our government and fellow citizens cannot, or perhaps, refuse to acknowledge what the U.S. signifies globally. If American policy-makers condone and actively support injustice and death worldwide, but claim "innocence" when violence comes to the U.S., this may appear hypocritical to people outside our borders. Could the Bush administration's "steadfast" response to the national trauma of 09.11.01 be seen as an alibi, an excuse to avoid meaningful engagement in a complex world? Is the "terror" the U.S. government wishes to eradicate connected to our own historical policies, interests, and practices? Do we really mean to bring democracy to the world by use of military force, and will the violence unleashed never impact us, or our "freedoms"? Our unwillingness to confront the implications of our government's recent acts and the consequences of our history represent huge failures to take responsibility. Through deceits and denials we lose the opportunity to act more justly in the world, and perhaps thereby truly earn the trust and respect of our neighbors.
I have collaborated with Brown Visual Arts and Modern Culture and Media Studies Professor Roger Mayer and Hampshire College Philosophy Professor and music critic Christoph Cox on a conference project called sonic.focus. The events examine the relationship between contemporary sound practices and visual culture. sonic.focus invites an international group of artists and scholars to contribute formal lectures, artist talks, presentations of sound and/or image media, and "live" sound or sound/image performances. I continue to produce a series of works foregrounding how black pop cultural forms are consumed and redeployed to produce hybrid interventions in today's global contexts. Most recently I have been producing "the art critique series," works dealing with the relations between criticism, capitalism, and art practices. I am embarking on the preliminary research for a major series dealing with the representation of artists, the art studio, and creative practices.
2008 Resident Scholar / Artist-in-Residence, Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, LA (9/08 - 6/09)
1998 Manning Assistant Professorship, Brown University, Providence, RI, Dept. of Modern Culture and Media, Malcolm S. Forbes Center for Research in Modern Culture
1996 Rockefeller Foundation Intercultural Film/Video Fellowship
1994 John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, New York, NY - Multi-media installation art
1993 Virginia Commonwealth Univ., Richmond, VA - Alumni Star, School of the Arts
1992 United States/France Artists Exchange Fellowship National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)/American Center, Paris, France (9/92 - 3/93)
1991 Golden Gate Award - San Francisco International Film Festival
1991 Video Experimental, 2nd Prize - Athens International Film and Video Festival, Ohio University, Athens, OH
1991 Prized Pieces Award. (Winner: Cultural Affairs Doc.) - National Black Programming Consortium, Columbus, OH
1990 Agit-Prop Video Award - Video Witnesses: A Festival of New Journalism, Hallwalls, Buffalo, NY
1983 Sculpture Dept. Award, Virginia Commonwealth Univ., Richmond, VA
2006 Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Museum, Providence, RI Juror, Video Open Call I
2005 Seoul Film & Net Festival, Seoul, Korea - Juror, International Competition
2004 Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, Providence, RI- Review Panelist, Photography
2003 Illinois Arts Council, Chicago, IL - Review Panelist , Media Arts
1999 Massachusetts Cultural Council, Boston, MA - Review Panelist - Photography
1999 Rockefeller Foundation Intercultural Film/Video Fellowship, New York, NY - Review Panelist
1997 - present Electronic Arts Intermix, New York, NY- Artists Advisory Board
1996, 1997 Rockefeller Foundation Intercultural Film/Video Fellowship, New York, NY - Nominating Committee
1995 - 2001 College Art Association
1994 - 97 New Museum of Contemporary Art , New York, NY- Artists Advisory Board
1993 ArtsLink, New York, NY - Advisory Panelist, Visual Arts Program
1992 School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA - Panelist, Post-Graduate Travel Fellowship
Introduction to Video Production
Provides the basic principles of video technology and independent video production through a cooperative, hands-on approach utilizing small format video (Mini DV). Emphasizes video as a critical intervention in social and visual arts contexts.
Intermediate Video Production
Expanded principles of independent video production utilizing small format video (Mini DV). Emphasizes video as a critical intervention in social and visual arts contexts. A major project (10-20 minutes) and a class presentation concerning your project are required.
Problems of Documentary
An advanced seminar for students of video and/or film production. Focuses on the critical discussion and production of documentary. A major project (10-20 minutes) and in-class presentations of work-in-progress required. Readings on the theory and practice of the form and selective screenings augment the presentation of student work.
Creative Arts Council, Fitt Artist-In-Residence Award, Brown University sonic.focus conference, 2006 - $10,000
Forbes Research Grant, Malcolm S. Forbes Center for Research in Modern Culture and Media Studies sonic.focus conference, 2005-2006 - $42,000
Departmental Research Funds for the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, Brown University, Evil series, 2005 - $2,000
Departmental Research Funds for the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, Brown University, Evil series, 2004 - $2,000
Short Film Commission, 2004 Rotterdam International Film Festival. Rotterdam, NL, Evil series, 2003-04 - $3,500
Departmental Research Funds for the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, Brown University, Evil series - $2,000 2003
Salomon Research Award, Brown University, Shrink Installation, 2002 - $9,000
Creative Capital Foundation, New York, NY (Supplemental Funding: Billboard Project), 2000 - $5,000
Rockefeller Foundation Multi-Arts Production Fund (Dance Collaboration), 2000 - $2,000
Creative Capital Foundation, New York, NY (Visual Art: Billboard Project) - $10,000
Visible Republic (The New England Foundation for the Arts, the Fund for the Arts and the LEF Foundation) Finalist - Public Art Planning Grant, 1999 - $1,000
Semi-Finalist - International Video Art Award Competition. ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany, 1996 - $1,200
Rockefeller Foundation Intercultural Film/Video Fellowship, Pop Manifestos series, 1996- $35,000
Creative Time, Inc., New York, NY - Public Postering Project Grant, 1995 - $3,000
New York State Council on the Arts - Media Production Grant, 1992 - $20,000
National Endowment for the Arts - Visual Artists Fellowship, New Genres, 1991 - $20,000
New York Foundation for the Arts - Fellowship in Video, 1991 - $7,000