Ellen Mueller

Leisure Tests

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In this series of short video works I’m considering the Mississippi river as a site of both leisure and commerce. Visually, the work combines imagery of the river, barge tie-offs, shoreline, bridges, and other site-specific details, combined with footage of people working to embody ideas of leisure at this specific location.

Performers were given a general overview of these ideas and concepts and asked to improvise movements or stillness on their own. I use juxtaposition, repetition, glitches, and shifts in opacity to complicate these landscapes and human forms, drawing attention to the way this particular landscape has been inextricably bound up in capitalist forms and modes. Shifts in seasons frame short sporadic efforts towards leisure, with each one resulting in a failed attempt.

Thank you to performers Kaya Lovestrand, Grover Hogan, Non Edwards, and Erika Hansen.

Screening History:

  • Trylon Cinema, Minneapolis MN, June 2021
  • Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts, Lubbock TX, June 2021
  • Northrup King Building Silos via ACAB.MPLS, Minneapolis MN, July 2021
  • Fountain Street’s Sidewalk Video Gallery, Boston MA, October 2021

MN arts board logos

Ellen Mueller is a fiscal year 2020 recipient of an Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.