Samuel Freeman is pleased to present The Four People You Meet at Every Drug Deal, a solo exhibition by Jibade-Khalil Huffman. Huffman will present a multimedia exhibition comprised of a 3-channel video and sculptural installation, a 5-channel slide work, a color and text-based video, and still life photographs.
Huffman is an accomplished storyteller working in a variety of narrative systems. In his poetry-based writings, Huffman has been recognized for his experimentation in syntax and style, while conveying a poignant, youthful sense of ‘what it means to be here, now’ – existentially, socially, culturally, and aesthetically. Using history or certain traditions as a ground from which to deviate, Huffman brings “seemingly disparate subjects and objects into association without submitting to the ever-present temptation of over-determining their relationship… And the poems certainly do deviate.” In his book 19 Names for Our Band, “sentences don’t so much unfold as they do morph. Often, a sentence will travel the entire length of a page more like a quickly-shifting river suddenly supplied with too much rain water, than a canal flowing through its pre-dug course.” Yet with all his associative and syntactical shifts and jolts, “one can always follow the richness of the music.” (Brett Price, Octopus Magazine #11)
In his most recent work, Huffman explores both language and image-based structures, colliding poetry—whether written or performed—with the underlying, pre-ordained structures of cinema, photography, and other mediated forms of communication. Infrastructural systems found in filmmaking, including title sequences, credits and musical cues, are coopted by Huffman as new sites or prompts for a more complicated narrative or aesthetic. ‘Catalogs of gestures’ such as zooms or flickering cuts are, in effect, performed in parallel by Huffman’s psychologically-charged protagonists, or are seen reverberating through the marked editing of his photographic still lifes, lending to an always-shifting sense of place and memory, an aesthetic of the edit, an element of the absurd, and an appeal for heightened perception.
At the center of the exhibition, Huffman presents a newly expanded version of Lake Overturn, originally a 1-night live performance and video screening presented recently in a Hollywood industry screening room as a part of Pacific Standard Time Presents... Both the film and live performance star Claire Titelman as a location scout whose emotional collapse is told through the imagery of formulaic Hollywood disaster films – ‘the only language she has left’. As it plays out over the course of several days, Titelman’s location scout—performing improvisationally both inside the film and in front of it—ventures in and out of potential movie sites, contradicting and confirming any sense of place or time.
Huffman’s new Lake Overturn incorporates a voice-over narration by Titelman’s character, additional video channels, a built construction with hung photographs, and newly shot locations within Los Angeles domestic interiors, further exploring the tension between ‘the frightening banality of the potential for disaster, and the poetic banality of the everyday’. Huffman undercuts this binary, yet again, through a stream of contradictions found within the text and soundtrack.
Jibade-Khalil Huffman (Detroit, 1981) is the author of two books of poems, 19 Names For Our Band (Fence, 2008) and James Brown is Dead (Future Plan and Program, 2011) as well as a forthcoming book, Sleeper Hold (Fence, 2014). His art and writing projects, spanning photography, video, performance and poetry, have been exhibited and performed at MoMA/PS1, Mt. Tremper Arts, and Scaramouche, New York; Machine Project, Public Fiction, Night Gallery, and Eighth Veil, Los Angeles; and Southern Exposure, San Francisco. His work was recently included in the anthology The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing (Northwestern University Press, 2013). A graduate of Bard College and Brown University, he holds an MFA from the University of Southern California, and currently lives and works in Los Angeles.