• Mandala

    Mandala 2014, 20 Digital Pigment Prints, 42”x42”, Edition 1/5 + 1 AP. The word "mandala" is from the classical Indian language of Sanskrit. Loosely translated to mean "circle," a mandala is far more than a simple shape. It represents wholeness, and can be seen as a model for the organizational structure of life itself--a cosmic diagram that reminds us of our relation to the infinite, the world that extends both beyond and within our bodies and minds. We have created mandala’s within our own home out of the stuff we have found lying around in our own creative exploration.
  • Covering

    Covering 2014, 15 Digital Pigment Prints, 19”x19”, Edition 1/10 + 1 AP. When we present our work about our family, we are often asked, “What will you do when your kids won’t participate anymore?”  This question coupled with a recent death in the family has given us much pause to think about how we experience the absence of family as we grow older. After a family member dies, there is a memory of that person and a sense of absence.  Sometimes it becomes difficult to remember what that person looks like, but the feeling of absence is always there. In the Covering photographs, we have used white sheets to obscure our faces as well as to tie, hold and connect us as a family.  
  • Air Hunger

    Standered Definition Video with Sound, Duration: 2 mi 40 sec. Loop., Two Channel Video Projection, Aspect Ratio 4:3, 2 Ch Stereo, Installation dimensions variable.

    air-hunger comes from a medical condition, Kussmaul Breathing, which is the rapid, deep, and labored breathing of people who are in a diabetic coma. Kussmaul Breathing is also referred to as air hunger. The project, air-hunger explores issues of communication, sexuality and trust in relationships through the metaphor of what is traditionally scene as a children’s activity, chewing bubble gum. A man and woman interact by blowing bubbles. These bubbles hit and miss. When the bubbles do connect, their air is shared and the sugary bubble gum provides a life-sustaining medium for a few seconds.

  • Coffee & Milk

    Standered Definition Video with Sound, Duration: 4 mi 20 sec. Loop., Single Channel Video Projection, Aspect Ratio 4:3, 2 Ch Stereo, Installation dimensions variable

    The horizon line has been turned upside down. With instant Google satellite map searches of anywhere in world to fiber optic surgeries inside of the human body on the Discovery cable channel to virtual worlds of Second Life we no longer know which way is up, where is my depth of field and the limits of my personal “frame.” Coffee & Milk is an experimental video that transforms the most basic and everyday items into something larger-than-life. This becomes a metaphor for our physical and psychological space, which is incessantly fluxing between turmoil and tranquility.

  • Cheese Puffs

    Standered Definition Video with Sound, Duration: 3 mi 40 sec. Loop., Single Channel Video Projection, Aspect Ratio 4:3, 2 Ch Stereo, Installation dimensions variable

    Fear Factor, WWF Back Yard Wrestling, Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire?, what do we do to be seen? “Cheese Puff” is an experimental video about our relationship with modern television culture using the context of the ultimate junk food, cheese puffs. We live in a middle class American town with Super Wall Mart, Targets and Costco. We eat at McDonald’s, Taco Bell and TGI Fridays. We watch Fox News. We want to be heard.

    In this work we plunge through water and cheese puffs, while never touching. The cheese powder and oils eventually fall from the puffs making the water cloudy and thick. Through the use of irony we explore our relationship with each other and our culture. Additional footage includes images of our shoot in our garage referring to backyard sporting events such as backyard wrestling in Middle America.

  • Distrubance

    Single Channel, High Definition Video, 16:9, trt 3:00

    "Disturbance" was a work commissioned by the composer Jude Vaclavik fro his composition that premiered at the American Festival for the Arts in Houston, Texas in 2012.

    Music by Jude Vaclavik Commissioned by the American Festival for the Arts for the 2012 AFA Collaborations Concert Premiered July 13, 2012, Houston, Texas

  • Lets Get Married

    High Definition Video with Sound, Duration: 4 min 00 sec. Loop., Single Channel Video Projection, Aspect Ratio 16:9, 2 Ch Stereo

    Let’s Get Married is a collaborative project between artist team of Magsamen + Hillerbrand and playwright, Kirk Lynn based on the surrealist writings of Comte de Lautréamont.

    In this video three different people playfully construct and devour faces made out of bread, peanut butter and jelly.  The images become chaotic and the viewer looses track of what is created and what is regurgitated as audio of bees buzzing and a woman reciting lines that end with “peanut butter and jelly” gets louder and louder.

  • Whether

    High Definition Video with Sound, Duration: 6 min 00 sec. Loop., Single Channel Video Projection, Aspect Ratio 16:9, 2 Ch Stereo, Installation dimensions variable

    Whether is about the interaction between family members and how one person’s emotions can effect the family dynamic as identities of parent, spouse and child, through the metaphor of fog, veil and reveal one another.  What appears to be a typical family dinner becomes surreal as a cloud of fog engulfs and distorts the everyday event and fluctuates between memory, reality and dream worlds.

    Whether is an experimental video by the collaborative team of Hillerbrand+Magsamen. Through performance, Whether interstices between art and the contemporary American family by playfully and poetically exploring perceptions of emotions, family, consumerism and media within a uniquely American subjectivity.

  • Accumulation

    High Definition Video with Sound, Duration: 4 min 00 sec. Loop., Single Channel Video Projection, Aspect Ratio 16:9, 2 Ch Stereo, Installation dimensions variable

    Accumulation is an experimental video by the collaborative team of Hillerbrand+Magsamen. Through performance, Accumulationinterstices between art and the contemporary American family by playfully and poetically exploring perceptions of emotions, family, consumerism and media within a uniquely American subjectivity.

    In Accumulation, the innocence of a child dangles in a dark void and then a couple piles up tons of stuff from their garage: lawn mower, toys, tools, Christmas lights, and more into a mountain that they climb up as a means to get to another space.  An auctioneer rambles away and the viewer is left to decide if the couple is buying or selling their material, physical and emotional accumulation.

  • ETA

    High Definition Video with Sound, Duration: 4 min 30 sec. Loop., Single Channel Video Projection, Aspect Ratio 16:9, 2 Ch Stereo, Installation dimensions variable

    ETA is an experimental video that interstices between film, art and the contemporary American family by playfully and poetically exploring perceptions of emotions, family, consumerism and media within a uniquely American subjectivity.

    ETA is short for “estimated time of arrival.”  In this video a couple’s tension is illustrated through an intimate enclosed space of a car as rain and thunder dramatically pour down with an impending doom. The end reveals a constructed reality in a suburban environment that plays on ideas of film, theater and reality within a relationship.

  • Elevated Landscape

    High Definition Video with Sound, Duration: 4 min., Single Channel Video Projection, Aspect Ratio 16:9, 2 Ch Stereo, Installation dimensions variable

    Elevated Landscape, shot on location at Lawndale Art Center, in Houston, Texas, looks at a suburban lawn as a metaphor for a couple creating and controlling their psychological and physical space.

  • DIY Loveseat

    High Definition Video with Sound, Duration: 2 min 30 sec. Loop., Single Channel Video, Aspect Ratio 16:9, 2 Ch Stereo, Installation dimensions variable

    DIY Love Seat, is a playful an experimental short video that reinterprets our family and its identity. In this dark comedy a woman takes the family couch and cuts out a section with a chainsaw. The husband, in a very deadpan manner, takes duct tape and repairs the couch. This physical act brings them literally closer together but perhaps not emotionally.

  • Family Portrait

    4 Channel Video Installation, High Definition Video with Sound, Duration: Variable. Loop., Aspect Ratio 9:16, 2 Ch Stereo, Installation dimensions variable Family Portrait is a video installation, were 4 life size “living pictures” or portraits of a family: Father, Mother, Daughter and Son engage in a surreal action that range from the son smashing a stack of plates to the mother walling herself into her closet with bricks. With conscious forethought, the collaborative team of Hillerbrand+Magsamen critically examines the grammar between photography and cinema in our popular culture today by blurring the lines between the still and moving image. By using them selves them selves and their own children as iconic figures the artists playfully and poetically exploring perceptions of family, consumerism and media within a uniquely American subjectivity.
  • Whole

    High Definition Video with Sound, Duration: 2 min 30 sec. Loop, Single Channel Video Projection, Aspect Ratio 16:9, 2 Ch Stereo Embarking on an epic adventure, this family creates new levels of interaction, communication and exploration by breaking and cutting holes into their actual home to make a habitrail-like environment where they go nowhere fast. With conscious forethought, Hillerbrand+Magsamen critically examine the media grammar in our popular culture today by applying a "Hollywood" aesthetic to their work with layered dramatic music, visually rich cinematography, and faced paced editing. This “style” is juxtaposed against the performance-based video that expands the idea of the home video to a completely new level.
  • Comfort

    50”x60” polar fleece blankets, printed through Walmart

    Comfort is a series of 50”x60” polar fleece blankets, printed through Walmart, with images of various passage ways within the artists home that are blocked off by the very “stuff’ that occupies the space. Showing both an outside and inside view of these block spaces, the viewer begins to see the paradox of both visually being seduced by this strange installation of stuff while questioning the idea of being “trapped” inside ones own home.

  • Longing & Belonging

    High Definition Video with Sound, Duration: 6 min 00 sec. Loop., Single Channel Video Projection, Aspect Ratio 16:9, 2 Ch Stereo, Installation dimensions variable

    A giant fan, paper boats and restless nights in this dream-like video introduce a family and their desire to be together and part of something bigger than themselves. The longing to find a place in this world is brought together with the belonging that is willingly created between each other with a surreal twist of tape.

    Music by Michael Remson Performed by Andrés Gonzaléz (violin), Erika Lawson (viola) and Daniel Saenz (cello) Commissioned by the American Festival for the Arts for the 2012 AFA Collaborations Concert Premiered July 13, 2012 • Houston, Texas

  • Our Practice

    Hillerbrand+Magsamen are a collaborative husband and wife visual artist team made up of Stephan Hillerbrand and Mary Magsamen. Based in Houston, Texas their work draws upon the rich Fluxus practice of incorporating humor, performance, video art and everyday objects. Expanding their personal family life into a contemporary art conversation about family dynamics, suburban life and American consumer excess which they call “suburban fluxus”
  • House/Hold

    A series of 20 Archival Pigment Prints, 20"x28", Edition 1/5 The House/hold photograph series are portraits of our family that playfully capture slices of our daily life with surreal viewpoints and dark humor inspired by actual events from bath time to laundry. Born out of our ordinary life and evolved into the extraordinary, the photographs were taken in our home with controlled lighting and composition. We are interested in the identity of family and how that is communicated as middle-class Americans living in a suburban home with two children, a dog and too much stuff. Those things that we have worked so hard to obtain become both the burdens and joys in our lives. Titled after literary and mythological characters, we are referencing historical family stories of the heroism and tragedy such as Ophelia, Hercules, Pandora and Sisyphus. Throughout the House/hold photographs the charged personal narratives of our family speak to the structures of identity politics and consumerism.