College of DuPage
425 Fawell Blvd.
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
At the heart of the exhibition is an original film, Writing History with Lightning, a single-screen work composed of various altered and looped scenes from D.W. Griffith’s controversial 1915 film Birth of a Nation projected onto the interior structure of Baltimore’s abandoned Parkway Theatre, spilling across architectural details, theater seats and discarded objects from the building’s past. These projected images were then captured with a high-definition camera, and the resultant footage set to a soundtrack that is a deeply manipulated version of the original score of Birth of a Nation. Through this treatment, Hironaka and Suib destabilize and reverse the racist narrative structure of the Griffith’s 1915 film, using the methods of collage and appropriation to offer a counter-mythical historical vision. .
The use of the Parkway Theatre is especially poignant as it was built the same year that Griffiths’ Birth of a Nation was released, and later hosted a screening of the film. A full century later, from its location at the intersection of North Avenue and N. Charles Street, the theater found itself proximate to the protests against the death of Freddie Gray who died while in Baltimore police custody.
For the installation at the Cleve Carney Art Gallery Writing History with Lightning will be shown in an enclosed screening room. In addition, in the gallery outside of the screening room Hironaka and Suib will be creating a large-scale light installation titled Bright White Light.
Based in Philadelphia, Nadia Hironaka and Matthew Suib have been collaborators since 2008. They are recipients of several honored awards including a 2015 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, Pew Fellowships in the Arts and Fellowships from CFEVA and Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Their work has been widely exhibited both domestically and abroad at venues including, Fondazione MAXXI (Rome), New Media Gallery (Vancouver), The Institute of Contemporary Art (Philadelphia), UCLA Hammer Museum, PS1/MoMA, Philadelphia Museum of Art and Arizona State University Art Museum. They have been artists-in-residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts, the Banff Centre, and the Millay Colony for Arts. Matthew Suib is co-founder of Greenhouse Media and Nadia Hironaka serves as a professor and department chair of film and video at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Hironaka & Suib are represented by Locks Gallery.