May 26, 2008 OBViouS: Object Based Video Sculpture
video as object/video projected on objects.
space: 911 media arts, seattle
Exhibition Hours: Monday through Friday 12pm – 6pm
Saturdays 1pm. – 6pm
i was told that the purpose of this show was to explore what happens when you pit the sculptural versus the video-al. most of the pieces involve inserting the video as object into some familiar territory: a box, a case, a frame. okay. that’s nice. i would definitely want to put tina aufiero’s suitcase with reclining swan into a nice room in my future house. it’s a lovely structure and doubles as a music box.
this obviously isn’t a new concept, but it was fun to see what curator steven vroom came up with…
obvious is the work of seattle art historian, steven vroom. vroom’s the art critic for the capitol hill news and has been about the business of art for the past 12 years here in seattle. i never bothered to ask him where he was before that so please don’t ask me. he did mention that he’d taught at the art institute downtown. i recognize him as one of the nice guys (along with artist joe gray) who i always bump into on the infrequent moments i drop by my friend wylie bush’s Joe Bar cafe across from the harvard exit cinema…
a catalogue for the show can be found as an mp3 podcast at vroomjournal.com
my reaction to the show was amazement. if for no other reason than that it is all about the surface of things. there were some nice jokes, artistic punch lines (the tony weathers piece) and some works took on a certain elevation of interest due to the technical wizardry behind them (joseph gray’s supercube). but over all it was just pleasant to not have to think too deeply at any point.
but then again maybe i was supposed to ponder a little deeper. for example, caroline kapp has a piece in here called, ‘pivot point.’ it’s a couple of fence posts standing side by side. kapp has projected images of braided rope hanging down the length of the posts. and that’s it. the ropes twist and turn. they hang out. it’s cute.
when talking to vroom about it i asked if the posts were the twin towers and the ropes us, america, at the end of our tether, hanging by a thread.
“nope,” he said, “the ropes are hanging from an imaginary pivot above the posts. they dangle from it…” just use your imagination to imagine that pivot up there while the ephemeral rope turns on a breeze that no one will ever feel. then i began to imagine an imaginary noose, but that’s because i’m black and black people think like that. especially all of us high yellow black men. when the revolution comes everyone will have some grudge ancienne to take out on our genetics.
there’s a good reason why some of us aren’t fit to be critics; like my old pal roland barthes, some of us see what isn’t there. we long to murder the author. we feel no shame in our over conjecture. we wonder often, “well, if you’re so goddamn smart why didn’t you at least see how deep this life is, melville?”
but enough about the headaches of the strange and the socially misaligned. it’s memorial day weekend and i have spent the last few days spewing depressed bile on the heads of the revelers at folklife. and wanting to kill myself because american festival culture is so torturously bland and thus an appropriate encapsulation, insinuation, of what i hate about this white wash of a country. i cannot wait until this beast swallows itself and we get back to parading the heads of saints on poles and bring back the orgiastic fertility rites that make life abroad so desirable.
artists: casey cahoy ‘video in flight’ 2002
tina aufiero ‘swansonata’ 2002
suitcase with a small video monitor inserted into the upper panel. just a video of a swan sitting in the grass being a swan. and some beethoven playing (‘moonlight sonata’). i daresay you could call it a ‘swoonbox’ it’s so damn pretty.
tony weathers ‘a failed bid for clemency’ 2008
video picture frame. blinking eyes that dilate when an exterior light turns on. a synchronized automation. steve vroom, “it’s like when you look into a refrigerator.” blink. blink. blink.
joseph gray ‘cube etude 1.0’ 2008
2-channel generative video of a cube projected onto an actual cube.
“i made a texture map of a cube. it’s projected on to a real cube.” some real time video of the cube and it’s environment is projected on to a couple of the cube’s faces. produces an effect of infinite regression. this is also a technical exploration on gray’s part; check out his site for more details.
caroline kapp ‘pivot point’ 2008
two tall white fence posts have images of ropes twisting and turning from an imaginary pivot point.
and there you have it. the opening was nice. a small number of very inquisitive seattleites moving through the space. people on the back porch smoking and drinking beer. some yummy hummus and veggies for us to nibble on.
i bumped into old friends and talked to some strangers and it did nothing to change my mind about this wretched country. i still feel that this place doesn’t give the arts their just due. if they only knew what an indicator a lack of arts funding is to the health of a culture. just as the dissapearance of frogs and honey bees points towards the collapse of the ecosystem or the low album sales of madvillain as opposed to mariah shows how corrupt our political process is and how our institutions of education are in decline.
steven vroom has a sober documentation of his show on his vroomjournal site. you can look at that to see how an art historian posts notice. i found it helpful. i also find shoju, kirin, and make out sessions at the ocean side helpful if at times inappropriate to a deeper analysis of the more intellectually qualitative aspects of our lives. but i’d rather have them and art than have one without the other. and cigarettes. god i love to smoke at art openings…