Some Chance Operations at UMass Boston

Some Chance Operations, 1999. Film still.

“How to tell this story? Actually, it’s several stories. Isn’t it always? No one story ever stands alone.”

Renée Green, Some Chance Operations, 1999

From January 27th to February 9th 2019, Renée Green’s film Some Chance Operations is being screened at the UMass Boston’s University Gallery; the screening is part of From Theory to Practice: Trajectories of the Whitney Independent Study Program, an exhibition surveying the impact of the Whitney ISP on contemporary art.

The exhibition’s organizers write: “The Whitney launched its ongoing experiment in art education in 1967, formally instating the program in 1968. Since then, the ISP has swayed trajectories of late twentieth- and early twenty-first-century art. It has helped generate major modes of art making, including video-performance, institutional critique, social practice art, anti-photojournalism, and art-activism […] From Theory to Practice presents works by nineteen living artists—who have been participants or instructors (or both) in the program—charting just one possible set of constellations in the ISP universe.”

Green attended the ISP program in 1989, has been ISP guest faculty since 1991, and became the Director of the Studio Program in 1996-1997.

Shot in Naples, Vienna, and New York, Some Chance Operations explores the notion of an archival form, in this instance film, as an unstable memory receptacle that can vanish. History and how it is made is meditated upon as one of many chance operations. Early 20th century filmmaker Elvira Notari, who had a film production company in Naples between 1906 to 1930, plays a significant role as an impetus for Some Chance Operations. Despite the fact that she was a prolific filmmaker, producing over sixty feature films, only three remain intact.

From Theory to Practice has been organized by John A. Tyson and Sam Toabe; other participating artists in the exhibition include Mary Kelly, Sowon Kwon, Hans Haacke, K8 Hardy, Gregg Bordowitz, Pope L., and Park McArthur, among others. A related display of ephemera at the Grossman Gallery on the fifth floor of the Healey Library investigates aspects of the program’s expanded field.

A speaking program and a public reception will take place on February 21st, with a conversation between CAVS Fellow Hans Haacke and art historian and ACT Research Affiliate, Gloria Sutton.

More information:

Some Chance Operations, Video Data Bank

From Theory to Practice, UMass Boston, University Gallery

Independent Study Program 1968-2018. 50th Anniversary Symposium, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York