Bruno David is pleased to present The Protest Project, a video work by Saint Louis–based artist William Morris. This will be Morris’s fifth exhibition with the gallery.
The Protest Project examines the inherent bias of television news and its coverage of two watershed and simultaneous events-the COVID-19 pandemic and the worldwide outcry following the death of George Floyd.
The fulcrum of modern electronic journalism has always been factual reportage. But both producer and viewer share responsibility in the interpretation of truth. The video begins with fictional TV news anchor Howard Beale announcing his retirement due to poor ratings, in a scene from the 1976 movie Network, followed by a flashy introduction to the CBS Evening News.
Footage of the COVID-19 pandemic is layered and intercut with video of Black Lives Matter protests. Multiple audio sources mix with an arresting musical track. Lines of content demarcation and image origin become blurred, making video clips and soundbites nearly impossible to identify, with each element vying for the viewer's attention until the aggregate itself becomes the focus. In an attempt to absorb all information, the mind experiences confusion, the eye fatigue. Yet there is a palpable sense of unquiet to address, with no easy answers.
William Morris lives and works in St. Louis, Missouri. He received a M.F.A. in Video Art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a B.F.A. from Washington University in St. Louis.