Cindy Hinant
She Understood That it Has A Great Value
2017
HD Video
7:06 min
Transcribed excerpt from a public conversation with Kara Brooks on July 16, 2017 at Lit Gallery, New York, NY.

Cindy Hinant: This piece is called She Understood That it has a Great Value and it’s from the Donald Trump quote where he said “Paris is someone really who understood from an early age the word celebrity, she understood what it meant and she understood that it has a great value.” This is my most recent piece, I finished it about two and a half weeks ago for this exhibition. Obviously since our recent political shift in the US I’ve been thinking about the significance of reality television stars and the related social implications.

This audio basically shows Paris’s side of the argument, it comes from the MTV documentary Paris, Not France. With Paris, there is always a lot of controversy about whether this tape was released without her permission, publically she states that it was, and it was reported that after the release she didn’t leave the house for three months and that she went into family therapy.

Kara Brooks: I think it’s also interesting to hear the Paris recoding from her side because she switches her voice, so you can tell she is actually a very intelligent woman and then she will go into her persona’s voice at different points.

Cindy Hinant: I think she did that because she got uncomfortable talking about it, but what she does is completely trivialize the first part of the interview.

Kara Brooks: And then it’s interesting to hear her song also, “yeah, that’s hot.”

Cindy Hinant: My mentor was Dan Graham who says that “conceptual art is supposed to be funny.” I was having a hard time ending this video and I decided to end it basically with a dance party. In the documentary Paris, Not France, soon after talking about the sex tape they go to a press launch for this song, which is by Paris, and there’s this stupid scene where everybody listening starts nodding their head like “oh yeah, I’m getting into this song by Paris Hilton” and I loved how the fish is nodding his head, so this is my sense of humor coming out in a aquarium video.

I will say that I take so much from Andy Kaufmann’s timing. Some of my biggest influences are minimal artists working with the grid and the monochrome, and this looks like an early James Turell piece, so I’m creating these environments to create a space to talk about the sex tape materials. Andy Kaufmann I associate so much with conceptual art, he has this piece called “eating icecream.” Are you familiar with Andy Kaufmann? He was this great conceptual comedian from the 70s.

Kara Brooks: Yeah, Man on the Moon

He has this piece called “eating icecream” where he’s in a comedy club, and he’s introduced, and someone says “Andy Kaufmann is going to do his piece called ‘eating icecream.” So he sit’s down at a table, it’s a club that has food, he asks the waitress to come to his table which is on the stage, then he orders ice cream, she brings his ice cream, and then he stirs it up a lot, he likes to have it a little melted, and then he eats the ice cream. He just eats the bowl of ice cream on stage, and then when he’s done, he has a boom box on the table with his ice cream, and he presses play, and the recording is of an applause. This piece is just painfully long, he has to order the ice cream, the ice cream has to come from the kitchen, it’s a really slow piece, and I think about that timing a lot.

The timing in this video, especially with the color blocking, is 100% inspired by Andy Kaufmann. What I like about the color covering only part of the screen, is that you still see bubbles and things floating around in the background which still show the passage of time and the fact that this video was taken in a single shot. I only took out short moments to give the video a jolt whenever the documentary audio included a cut so that you are aware of when other people are speaking. So the song is building, the song is getting more exciting, this fish has done nothing, and the color covers the screen like she’s going to do an outfit change behind the curtain, or something exciting is going to happen, and when the rectangle disappears, what you are left with is the same reality, nothing changed. For me that’s a really important moment in that video.

Kara Brooks: I like that part too, it also adds a more cheeky, music video aspect .

Cindy Hinant It also relates to how we actually deal with these media images, all of these things are part of Paris’s construction, but you ignore it, you ignore it when you hear a pop song. There are a lot of ways that we get distracted from the meaning and significance of these throw-away images. It’s all super low-brow culture, but I just find it incredibly important and relevant to study.


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