Cameron Downey and Crystal Z Campbell
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Cameron Downey and Crystal Z Campbell

Using degraded VHS and salvaged 35mm film, artists Cameron Downey and Crystal Z Campbell excavate and imagine unsettled histories in North Minneapolis and Bed-Stuy Brooklyn, respectively. Join us for a screening of their films Hymn of Dust and Go-Rilla Means War, followed by a conversation with the artists.

This program kicks off a residency with Cameron Downey at the Walker. Throughout the fall and winter, Downey will explore the Ruben/Bentson Moving Image Collection, examining themes and issues found in Hymn of Dust, such as decay, urban landscape, and performance, as they work toward the creation of a new film. Their residency will culminate in a series of collection playlists, curated by Downey and presented online and in the Bentson Mediatheque.

Free tickets available at 6 pm from the Main Lobby desk.

Cameron Downey is an anti-disciplinary artist and environmental scientist born and raised in North Minneapolis. Their work oscillates among photography, film, body, sculpture, curation, and otherwise in order to mediate the concepts and bounds of world-building and survival artistry through Black, fantastical, and precarious spaces and forms. Downey graduated from Columbia University in 2021 with a double concentration in visual art and environmental science. Downey’s art has been exhibited by HAIR+NAILS, Minneapolis; Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, Berlin (2021); Engage Projects, Chicago (2021–2022); and as part of Midway Contemporary Art’s Off-Site program (2022).

Crystal Z Campbell is a multidisciplinary artist, experimental filmmaker, and writer of African American, Filipino, and Chinese descents. Campbell finds complexity in public secrets—fragments of information known by many but untold or unspoken. Sonic, material, and archival traces of the witness inform their work in film/video, performance, installation, sound, painting, and writing. Honors and awards include a 2022 Creative Capital Award, Harvard Radcliffe Film Study Center & David and Roberta Logie Fellowship, Pollock-Krasner Award, MAP Fund, MacDowell, MAAA, Skowhegan, Rijksakademie, Whitney ISP, Tulsa Artist Fellowship, and Black Spatial Relics, among others. Select exhibitions and screenings include the Drawing Center, New York; ICA-Philadelphia; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT), Los Angeles; Studio Museum of Harlem; Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Omaha; Project Row Houses, Houston; SculptureCenter, New York; and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Hymn of Dust by Cameron Downey, Cooper Felien, Ize Commers, and Miles Jamison
Spotlighting a speculative “scene of a crime,” VHS video dimly illuminates adorned youth in North Minneapolis’s sculptural, toxic metal wasteland along the Mississippi River in Downey’s downbeat electronic hymn. 2018, US, VHS to digital, 9 min.

Go-Rilla Means War by Crystal Z Campbell
A relic of gentrification, 35mm footage salvaged from a now-demolished civil rights–era theater in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn is the basis for Campbell’s intricately woven parable narrating complexities of Black cultural erasure and restoration. 2017, 35mm film transferred to digital, 20 min.

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  • Major support to preserve, digitize, and present the Ruben/Bentson Moving Image Collection is generously provided by the Bentson Foundation.