Beloved, I beseech you as aliens…: James Sham
James Sham “Beloved, I beseech you as aliens…”
Communication barriers, failures, mix ups, and mistranslations are the subject of James Sham’s work, which takes the form of objects, videos or performances. Mr. Sham’s projects have ranged a creative gambit of sign language interpreters signing the lyrics to DJ Kool’s “Let me Clear My Throat”, sharing a lobster dinner with a live lobster, tasking adults with an operatic game of telephone, and trading jackets with strangers. Mr. Sham will be exhibiting 2 videoworks which will be on view at PRACTICE this October.
For Beacon, the artist conducted interviews with members of the clergy from various faiths, asking them to explain their religious practices to an alien species. The resulting video installation, which reads as an evangelistic message to extra-terrestrials will be viewed at Practice as an indoor experience but was created by the artist to be able to be broadcast into the night sky.
In Forum, members of the deaf community debate various issues in sign language. Two interpreters, wearing eye-tracking glasses voice the translations in real time. The glasses allow the viewer to eventually see exactly what the interpreters are looking at while they translate sign language into audible words. To complicate matters even further the artist systematically begins to zip-tie the debaters arms together.
About the artist
James Sham is a Canadian expat who has been based in the United States since 2001. James is a graduate of Dartmouth College and received his MFA in Sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2008. Sham has completed several residency programs among them the Core Residency Program at MFAH, the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Art Omi International Artist Residency, and the Artpace 12.1 International Artist-in-Residency program in San Antonio, TX. He is currently based in Washington, DC, where he is posted at George Washington University’s Fine Art and Art History Department as Assistant Professor of Sculpture. For more information on Sham’s work, please visit jamessham.com.