Video of the Day: Best Buy Hearts Digital Art


15 second HD video loop, no audio, by Borna Sammak (2009).

Curator Thomas McDonell is a 23-year-old artist based in Williamsburg. While studying visual art in college, McDonell traveled across the world — Europe, West Africa, Southeast Asia — which informed the sense of global Aukflarung so prevalent in his work. Based in cosmopolitan Shanghai to research contemporary art, curator met fellow artist Borna Sammak and a partnership was born. We spoke briefly with Thomas about Sammak’s high-definition video work, launching for one day only at the Best Buy at 622 Broadway in New York City.

Borna Sammak’s work will be displayed on all 13 hi-def televisions displayed in the store, creating a noiseless visual cacophony of deconstructed form, movement, and color. The fragments pulled from the video clips – original or re-appropriated – are built into dense, multi-layered time-based compositions. The resulting abstractions reverberate between jarring digital glitches and lyrical figurations.

Flavorpill: Why a big box electronics store as exhibition space?

Thomas McDonell: Best Buy has unparalleled exhibition space for this kind of work, and so we had the idea to show it there. Convincing them to host was surprisingly easy and, in the end, all about guaranteeing a crowd.

FP: In Holland Cotter’s review of “S&M: Shrines and Masquerades in Cosmopolitan Times,” he mentions you worked in Ghana. Were you there for school or working solely on art projects? How did your time in Africa influence what you’re working on now?

TM: I was Ghana to study, but ended up making a lot of work. Things that I made while I was there, and ideas I had, remain a sort of foundation for me, especially with painting.

FP: Do you have a preference between curating and creating your own work? What are the advantages of each?

TM: I spend most of my time on my own work, but I am constantly thinking about other people’s work that I admire. So I like to curate too, because it gives me the opportunity to think and act with other people’s ideas.

Borna Sammak and Thomas McDonell will be on hand at Best Buy (622 Broadway, New York NY) on October 8th at 7 p.m. for the reception and exhibition.