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, REDCAT, Los Angeles, CA, and La Cinémathèque Française, Paris. His numerous media festival screenings include Oberhausen Short Film Festival (1993, 2005), International Film Festival Rotterdam (2001 2006, 2009 - 13), Seoul Film & Net Festival (2005), and Rencontres Internationales Paris-Berlin-Madrid (2003 - 2013). 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. In spring 2014 Cokes was a Residential Fellow at Yaddo, Saratoga Springs, NY. Cokes is a Professor in Media Production and DIrector of Undergraduate Studies, Department of Modern Culture and Media at Brown University, Providence, RI.
Tony Cokes has research interests in media production, multimedia installation, documentary theory and practice, sound in relation to image, representations of artists and the studio, modes of arts criticism, and critical uses of popular culture.
Pop Manifestos series
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 interest in the evocative powers and cultural uses of popular music forms continues to deeply inform my practice.
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.
Current / Future Plans
From 2004 - 06 I 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. In fall 2014 Prof. Cox, MCM PhD. candidate Andrew Lison, and I presented the third iteration of the series: sonic.focus.3. 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.
Residential Fellow, Corporation of Yaddo, Saratoga Springs, NY 2014
Departmental Research Funds for the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, Brown University, Providence, RI 2007 -2014
Faculty Development Fund, Brown University, Providence, RI (The Daily Practice of Representation… Research Project) 2013, 0214
Faculty Development Fund, Brown University, Providence, RI (REDCAT Installation Project) 2012
AT&T Research Assistantship, Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University (for ‘Evil Series’ Global Conversation website), Providence, RI
Creative Arts Council, Fitt Artist-In-Residence Award, Brown University sonic.focus conference, 2006, 2014Forbes Research Grant, Malcolm S. Forbes Center for Research in Modern Culture and Media Studies sonic.focus conference, 2005-2006, 2013 -2014
Selected Videography (*Includes Collaborative Works with X-PRZ)
Face.Value: von Trier, Bowie, Kanye Color, Stereo, 14 min. Music: David Bowie
1!+ (a dubstep primer) Color, Stereo, 37 min. Music: Various
Evil.48: (fn.know.it.alls) Color, Stereo, 6 min. Music: Various
Evil.26: hostile.2.me Color, Stereo, 3 min. Music: Lali Puna
Evil.35: Carlin / Owners Color, Stereo, 8 min. Music: Gang of Four
Evil.20 (Blood On My Hands) B&W, Stereo. 68 min. Music: Various (Video Installation)
Evil.20 (b.o.m.h.edit) B&W, Stereo. 22 min. Music: Shackleton
Evil.16 (Torture.Musik) Color, Stereo. 17 min.
Evil.45 (ObL Speaks) Color, Stereo. 7 min. Music: Manic Street Preachers, Skream.
Evil.27 (Selma) Color, Stereo. 9 min. Music: Morrissey, The Smiths.
studio, time, isolation: reconstructions of soul and the sublime Color, Stereo. 10 min. Music: Cornel Campbell
RRK (Reading Rosalind Krauss) Color, Stereo. 5 min. Music: The Size Queens
Evil.11 (The Katrina Debacle) Color, Stereo. 11 min. Music: Nico, Sam Cooke, Zomby
Evil.13 (Alternate Versions) (Multimedia Installation – 5 Channels of Video 120 min. total, 6 Vinyl Window Texts) Produced for First Berlin Documentary Forum as part of “Rules of Evidence: Text, Voice, Sight” Commission by Okwui Enwezor and Hila Peleg
studio, time, isolation: reconstructions of soul and the sublime (study for pt.3) Color, Silent . 3 min.
Margins and Bubbles Pt.2 Color, Stereo. 13 min. Music: Coralcola
shrinking.criticism Color, Stereo. 16 min. Music: Kromestar, Ironsoul
Evil.12 Fear, Spectra, and Fake Emotions Color, Stereo. 10 min. Music: Modeselektor w/ Paul St. Hilaire & Dabrye remix
leeds.talk.trailer Color, Stereo. 4 min. Music: The Martinez Brothers
leeds.talk.04 Color, Stereo. 13 min. Music: The Martinez Brothers, Cicada (Dirty South Remix)
mikrohaus (or the black atlantic?) Color, Stereo. 30 min. Music: Thomas Brinkmann, Basic
Channel, Jan Jelinek, Mike Ink, Gheez n’ Gosh, Ricardo Villalobos, Akufen, Luomo
Evil.15 (On Teflon – 5Pts.) Color, Stereo. 28 min. Music: Magnetic Fields, Lai Puna, Stereolab
Guns & Poses (Remix).* Color, Stereo. 12 min. (Released 1997)Black Celebration. B&W, Stereo. 17 Min. (Single-channel version of 'Black Celebration' with music by Skinny Puppy)
Fade To Black Color. Stereo. 33 Min. Co-Producer: Donald Trammel.
DELAY/ENJOY (the invisible generation). Color, Silent. 60 min./ea. (2 Channel Video Installation)
Confession. B&W, Stereo. 28 min. Music: George Black & David Stowell.
Tales from Planet. Kolkata Co-writer, Performer. Director: Ruchir Joshi Color, Stereo. 37 min.
JST BCZ UR PARANOID DNT THNK THYR NT AFTR U (Malcolm X Pt 1)*. Color, Mono. 10 min. (Multimedia Installation - Video, Photo Lightboxes)
SWIPE 1.0. Audio Compact Disc, Stereo. 7 tracks, 37 min.
AD Vice. Color, Stereo. 7 min. Music: Swipe (Remastered in DV)
2@. Color, Stereo. 6 min. Music: Swipe (Remastered in DV)
Shrink.demos 1 – 4. Color, Stereo. 21 min. Music: The Notwist
5%. Color, Stereo. 9 min. Music: Swipe
3#. Color, Stereo. 5 min. Music: Seth Price
Shrink2.demos 1 – 4. Color, Stereo. 21 min. Music: The Notwist
Shrink3.demos 1 & 3. Color, Stereo. 11 min. Music: The Notwist
Black September. Color, Stereo. 1 min. Music: The Notwist
Black September (Evil.2/3). Color, Stereo. 2 min. Music: The Notwist
Pause. Color, Stereo. 16 min. Music: DJ Danger Mouse, Robert Lippok, DJ Mike
Headphones. Color, Stereo. 7 min. Music; Static (w/Ronald Lippok)
Evil.9 (mmmfs). Color, Stereo. 3 min. Music; Mocky
Evil.7 (iraq.deadly.chronology). Color, Stereo. 5 min. Music; Wir
1!. Color, Stereo. 22 min. Music: Michael Bell-Smith
Pop Manifestos. (Multimedia Installation - Seven Channels of Video, Audio Database)
Evil.6 (Faking). Color, Stereo. 10 min. Music: Lali Puna
Evil.10 (W2tDotR) Color, Stereo. 8 min. Music: The Notwist6^. Color, Stereo. 5 min. Music: Damian Kulash
NO SELL OUT (or i wnt 2 b th ultimate commodity/machine). Malcolm X Pt. 2*. Color, Stereo.
The Book of Love. (Unreleased) Color, Mono. 58 Min. with Dorothy R. Cokes.
Word 2 My Mother. Color, Stereo. 60 min. (Multimedia Installation - Video, Computer Text Animation, Audio)
|MCM 0730 - Introduction to Video Production: Critical Strategies and Histories|
|MCM 0780 - Soundtracks: Sound Production and Visual Media|
|MCM 1700D - Reframing Documentary Production: Concepts and Questions|
|MCM 1700F - Theory for Practice / Practice as Theory|