the work of media artist
ALL ROADS LEAD@836M
Agnès Guillaume | John Sanborn
January 21 – September 30, 2021
836M 836 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA
The four-month exhibit is the gallery’s first ever exhibit of Video Art and features a pair of works each from Guillaume (Paris & Brussels) and Sanborn (Berkeley) that reveal their ephemeral ideas made manifest into electronic reality; the classically trained musicianship of Guillaume (the minimalist) allowing her to use a single thought to conjure multiple moods, while Sanborn (the maximalist) preferring a pop culture lexicon that seeks to mash, mangle and transpose; the pair take on subjects ranging from the “comedy of death” and “incessant flow of life,” to how our minds cope with change and the unspoken bonds that go along with friendship.
All Roads Lead opened January 21 and runs through May 28 2021; private showings can be made by appointment
March 18 - April 4, 2021
in the the Chapelle de l’Ancien Hôpital Général, Clermont-Ferrand, France
We spend our lives searching for ideas, structures and people to invest our faith in, because we think they will provide us with answers to questions we KNOW cannot be answered.
This 17 channel installation work presents the leader of a new religion called "New Thought" - a mysterious and charismatic figure, who calls themselves The Friend, delivering 7 sermons filled with instruction, divination, personal confession and a sticky mess of ambiguity.
The Friend is accompanied by 8 Saints of dubious distinction, and animations of their relics, who testify to this new religion and celebrate the freedom to build a utopia, albeit consisting of damaged souls.
The Friend is performed by John Cameron Mitchell.
Duck Stab! Alive!
written and performed by
directed by John Sanborn
The Residents debuted a special new performance, Duck Stab! Alive!, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the long-running alternative variety/music show, Night Flight. The performance will air June 5th on the Night Flight Plus app.
Duck Stab! Alive! is described in a release as a “contemporary ‘live-in-the-studio’ re-imagining” of the Residents’ 1978 album, Duck Stab! The performance was directed by video artist John Sanborn, who has regularly collaborated with the Residents since the Nineties.
God in 3 Persons
a collaboration between
and John Sanborn
The Museum of Modern Art, NY
January 24 + 25, 2020
Legendary performance group the Residents, in collaboration with media artist John Sanborn, have created a singular, live video/theater version of their legendary 1988 album “God in Three Persons”- the story of a disgraced preacher and his twisted obsession with a pair of conjoined twins he claims to be miracle workers.
Adapted by Sanborn for the stage, G3P features new orchestrations of 10 classic Residents' songs by musical director Joshua Raoul Brody, and we directed for the stage by Travis Chamberlain. Gender queer performer Jiz Lee plays the elusive Twins.
The work was developed during a 2 week residency at The Lab in San Francisco before premiering at MoMA .
Come Stream with Me
the art of John Sanborn
Come Stream with Me presented a portrait of how an artist visualizes what it is to listen; to give substance to the sounds around us, and rethink how we deal with moving images and sound - together.
This live event centered around nine short, music themed works which examine the structure and inherent nature of music in collision with storytelling conceits. Employing a reverse chronology - newest first - the selection allows the audience to trace Sanborn's thematic passions and editing obsessions over the course of 40 years.
This recording of a 90-minute program intermingles works by Sanborn with an interactive Q&A in real-time response to audience questions; moderated by Zoë Elton, MVFF Director of Programming.
November 2 - December 14, 2019
323 10th Street, San Francisco CA
John Sanborn is fascinated by stories. – and the stories of those stories. The ways they inform our understanding of our selves, others, and the world. The ways they can be stifling and prejudicial. And the ways they so often prove to be fanciful illusions in which we have invested too much authority. But Sanborn’s work is not by nature cynical. He doesn’t bemoan this duplicity in the stories we tell. To the contrary, he celebrates the subversion of inherited narratives; and he affirms the deception in stories – albeit with a degree of dark humor – as holding open the possibility of their being told otherwise.
-curator Clark Buckner
5 September - 21 September 2019
Galerie Tokonoma, Paris
Even as I type these words I know that I will fail to fully describe my ideas.
And that is the point.
Starting with the premise that empathy is programmatic, Post-Cards from Post-America tempers mixed signals and the imprecision and impracticality of morphology to create a narrative of confusion. Mashing together the ontology of phonological and expressive needs, the work extrudes our current lack of coherence into a comic linguistic puzzle.
The barriers to expression are the first step – but after that what do we have to say? Are we speaking truth to power, or shouting into the wind? Do we even know what truth is – or are we satisfied with making it up as we go along?
an interactive project by John Sanborn
Jeu de Paume, Paris
for their Espace Virtuel
June 27 - November 2019
Museum Night September 17 at 19h
Our definition of negative is emptiness or a void—but as with music or design, the inverse verifies the positive. One cannot know joy without pain.
In creating NONSELF, I offer evidence of consciousness, constructed from the negative space that surrounds me. It’s easy to state what IS—but the impression made from what IS NOT speaks to what is “not me” as well as our current understanding of “truth”.
NONSELF is comprised of a series of 110 short videos each of which uses “not me” attributes, attitudes and perspectives to create an inverted self-portrait.
created by John Sanborn
The National Museum of Qatar
Opened March 27, 2019
Alchemy celebrates the remarkable daring and enormous benefits of Qatar’s development of Liquid Natural Gas as a resource for the world. The work conveys the beauty and majesty of this achievement, in ingenious and poetic form; beginning with a mysterious unknown, continuing through three choreographic stages, and ending with a smile of recognition.
Produced by the Doha Film Institute
Edited by John Sanborn, Heloise Roueau and Roger Jones
Technical Direction by Dean Winkler and Roger Jones
CGI by Nice Shoes, New York