Eli Robb: Video Performance Artist

Eli Robb is a professor of film, digital media, performance, and video at
Lake Forest College. Originally from California, Robb received a BA from the University of California at Berkeley, and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute in 2003. Robb's main interest is video and photography. He has had numerous exhibits and recent performances in Chicago and the Chicago land area.

One of his public demonstrations is entitled Gone Hunting in which he goes on a hunting trip in the bustling metropolis of downtown Chicago. He carries a 12-foot bow and 9-foot arrow, both created from found materials. Dressed in green and bright orange, Robb goes unnoticed by passersby on a crisp spring morning; the ground is still covered by snow as he tracks through the crowded streets to Grant Park and begins his futile hunt. The sound of the city is mixed with the beating of drums (as if he were going on an African Safari hunt) to the sounds of calm streams as Robb enters the park and prepares us for the hunt. After creeping slowly upon a bird, his ill-fated shot with his oversized arrow hardly disrupts the serenity of the park. The silliness of the stunt keeps the viewer engaged as if he were watching a PBS nature special. After a few attempts, the defeated hunter leaves the park as the increased beat of the music signals that the hunt is over.

Gone Hunting

Robb’s two recent performances are Dark Secret, a part of A Wedding Suite Series and One Ton Workout, a performance piece in which he carries his tools up and down stairs for about 8 minutes to equal the weight of lifting and carry one ton.

Robb's upcoming series Giancarlo Stine is an ongoing hip-hop inspired celebrity concoction.

Episode 2: The Blood Spatter depicts the host Giancarlo Stine introducing us to how to make a fake-blood drink as if you were watching a cooking show with canned audience applause. The parody of this performance is met with a detailed recipe displayed on the screen, as if an online drink-mixing recipe has gone to a low social status with random applause. The segments end with more of K-Fed hip hop music. Like in the music, a cheering crowd doesn't care how bad the music is; they will always applaud.

Robb describes his Giancarlo series and hip hop reference: “The hip hop reference in that episode is part of the K-Fed connection. In each of the Startender episodes, Giancarlo makes a drink based on a “celebrity excretion.” In the Blood Spatter episode, it’s K-Fed with a bloody eye from fighting, a hypothetical celebrity news item based on the collection of found web images and videos I used for the intro. The intro music is the soundtrack to the Google video of Federline bobbing his head to the song ‘if you blood, throw it up’ (not Federline’s song, it’s by 47 Miller Gang, and the line is an LA gang reference, but I connect it to the real blood that could emanate from Kevin, if, for example, his publicized match against John Cena, or the fighting K-Fed video game pictured were for real), so I make him take a drink. In other episodes, celebrities like Chrissie Hynde, Brittany Snow, Brittany Spears, rival celebrity bartender Philip Duff, Angelina Jolie, and others are made special drinks based on their own particular excretions, including scarey creations like ‘toxic morning breath,’ ‘the shart,’ ‘leaky tits,’ and ‘yellow snow.’ This series intends not only to parody the celebrity gossip machine and the popularly formulaic cooking television show, but to tap into inexorable obsessions that drive this country’s culture. These are obsessions I want to claim as legitimate regions of creativity and powerful modes of interaction.”

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