Mark Amerika’s video piece Honolulu Hermes pays tribute to the island of Oahu, Hawaii, where he has been living part-time since more than a decade. Simultaneously, the work pays homage to artists like Bruce Conner, members of the London-based Filmmakers Co-op, and in particular the underground filmmaker Stan Brakhage. The latter was a colleague of Amerika’s at the University of Colorado at Boulder and Amerika's stylized use of experimental hand-held camera techniques bring to mind some of Brakhage’s films, like Mothlight (1963) or Stellar (1993).
The work’s title, Honolulu Hermes, references the Olympian god Hermes in ancient Greek mythology and casts Amerika in the light of a trickster, a messenger, a poet and athlete whose manipulated film of himself walking on the beach seems to endow the artist with wings on his feet that allow him to float, to fly - even to walk on water. With Honolulu Hermes, Amerika not only combines location with personality (Oahu and Brakhage), or a figure of ancient mythology with the self portrait, but the artist stylistically pairs and celebrates DIY aesthetics in filmmaking with a self-aware repositioning of the cinematic auteur in a contemporary media-art context. The video was shot with an iPhone while walking on the beach, after which it was edited and remixed.
Mark Amerika lives and works in Boulder, Colorado and Kailua, Hawaii.