philadelphia

Connie Coleman and Alan Powell

Temple Contemporary

Exhortation, seduction, intimidation: Connie Coleman and Alan Powell’s ambitious video trilogy, entitled Negotiations for a Heaven on Earth: Threats, Promises, Desires, 1988, takes on these tactics of mass media manipulation in order to critique television’s power to fashion cultural consciousness. The piece employs borrowed texts and imagery from actual broadcast footage, reconstituting them via state-of-the-art image-processing; in terms of sophistication and methodology, the processing technique mirrors high-end media technology. The artists also devised three sculptural environments—one each for “Threats,” “Promises,” and “Desires”—as contextually appropriate sites of reception for the segments’ messages regarding media portrayals of power, sex, and violence.

The “Promises” section suggests a generic town meeting hall or VFW post. Folding chairs face a squat Corinthian capital, on which

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