Taryn Simon's Art Traces Family Bloodlines Around the World

By Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg

In a video collaboration with Art.sy Films, Taryn Simon describes her latest work, A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters. The video, produced by Marina Chashdan, is not your standard artist profile. It immerses the viewer in Simon's photography, portraits and evidence-like documentation arranged to "imply patterns and codes and systems."  Her methods approach an "anthropological investigation in their depth," Art.sy writes, spanning populations from "test rabbits in Australia to the living dead in India." Art.sy, a startup in private beta, plans to be the Pandora of the art world, using data from the Art Genome Project to connect viewers with work they'll like. 

A statement on the artist's site describes the work that went into the global project:

A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters was produced over a four-year period (2008-11), during which Simon travelled around the world researching and recording bloodlines and their related stories. In each of the eighteen 'chapters' that make up the work, the external forces of territory, power, circumstance or religion collide with the internal forces of psychological and physical inheritance. The subjects documented by Simon include feuding families in Brazil, victims of genocide in Bosnia, the body double of Saddam Hussein's son Uday, and the living dead in India. Her collection is at once cohesive and arbitrary, mapping the relationships among chance, blood, and other components of fate.

For more videos from Art.sy, visit http://art.sy/.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/06/taryn-simons-art-traces-family-bloodlines-around-the-world/258720/