Archive for June, 2012

Knob Magic

Thursday, June 28th, 2012
Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe/Lichens

Part of Start Again Feel Again, Rose Kallal’s exhibition at Participant Inc, is this live performance with Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe/Lichens. The exhibition itself was curated by Kate McNamara, Director and Chief Curator at the Boston University Art Gallery.

What you see here are projections of four 16mm film loops that Rose shot on 16mm, using set-up sources and appropriated images, sometimes double-exposed.  Beneath these projections, in the dark, are the two artists seated at modular synthesizers, totally jamming out.  Intermittently, Rose turns to a floor tom drum and two cymbals – but most of it is knob magic.  Transfixing and mesmerizing, particular song samples seemed to emerge from and haunt the gurgling boops and beeps, like conscious memories emerging from complex brain matter.  I heard techno tracks, dub reggae, early Kraftwerk and Neu! hallmarks, Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, respiration, atomic bombs, and geiger counters – but never dance beats.  Still, I felt hypnotized faster than you can say “Wendy Carlos sued me.”

Enigma: Pinch Me, I'm Dreaming of Electric Sheep

From the press release: “Each of four overlapping film loops cycles at a different speed to create a continuous flow of repeating patterns and motifs that are in a continual state of reconfiguration, both visually and sonically, allowing for chance operations and alchemical relations between sound, word, and image.”

“Start Begin Feel Again elaborates such processes of transmutation between form and formlessness: solid/liquid, word/sound, image/abstraction.”

Intuitively glimpsing the aesthetic of album covers, title design, and special effects from around the time I was born, I asked Rose what year this would be.  “1979,” she said.  True.  But it goes back further: from the the obvious Kubrick, then Pink Floyd allegiance, continue through the mid-1970s  signature style of visual effects pioneer Robert Abel.  All this was revealed to me by this week’s guru, Mike G.  Thanks!)




Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Start Begin Feel Again: Rose Kallal’s sound and film installation at Participant Inc.

Ruined In a Day

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Last fall, BAM called for entries to an competition for public art projects to commemorate the institution’s 150th Anniversary.  The BAMart Public Art Project “aimed at enlivening BAM’s campus and its surrounding district through the commission of five distinctive works from emerging and established artists.”

BAMart: Public selected locations within walking distance of the Peter Jay Sharp Building, each of which featured blank walls or open plots.  “Utilizing unused space allows for BAM to support artists and to infuse more life and creativity into the community,” says Dave Harper, BAMart curator and member of the curatorial committee. “This project’s goal is to inspire the collective public imagination.”

From over one hundred proposals, the committee selected four artists or artist groups.  They include Glen Baldridge, Ed Purver, Showpaper, and Timothy Hull & Future Expansion Architects.  It is the last group whose project interests me the most.

Nicholas McDermott (l) and Timothy Hull (r)

Timothy Hull & Future Expansion Architects (Nicholas and Deirdre McDermott) produced Accelerated Ruin, a sculpture that “undergoes an uncontrolled decomposition.”  The structure, roughly 20 feet tall at the highest high and 40 feet long is couched between neighboring buildings and looks like a monument parked by an ancient culture.  It is clad in a soluble, biodegradable shell that will break down throughout the coming year, which will reveal a skeletal armature of white-tipped aluminum tubes.  (You can review the construction and proposals here and here.)

Ecovative Design, LLC produces this material, ordinarily an organic packing substance grown from agricultural waste and fungal mycelium. (At the opening, many jokes circulated about a fortress made from hemp and mushrooms. “Imagine the giant brownies you could make!”)  The material feels like styrofoam or a dry sponge, but smells like fresh hay.  The surface seems like weathered, then glazed stone or even severely corroded bronze.  It can be very dense or arid enough to break over one’s knee.

How Tactile of You: Ecovative surface

Accelerated Ruin is important because it offers a dynamic, rather than static, public art project that encourages multiple visits.  One can imagine the changes in store. Will a tropical storm wipe out huge chunks at once?  Will grass and weeds grow from the seams?  Will birds nest inside?  It is also important as an example of artistic practice beginning to explore and consider environmental impact.  Michael Wang’s Carbon Copies last winter at Foxy Production comes to mind.  For that show, “each sculpture was made out of carbon and its dimensions were determined by the amount of CO2 that was emitted to create a certain artwork, the appearance of which was reflected by details in the sculpture.  So, one of the big ones was based on Richard Serra Torqued Ellipse and it was a cube with a torqued ellipse cut out of the middle.” -from Brian Droitcour’s Yelp review of Foxy Production

Brooklyn Sphinx

If you don’t go in for the “sustainable” angle, then consider artists adopting variations on this everyday petrochemical stuff.  For example, Dan Graham’s Foams might corral this territory, while Jason Rhoades would take it full retard with his signature PeaRoeFoam: whole green peas, white virgin beaded foam and fish bait styled salmon eggs.  But imagining the latter roasting in this week’s weather makes me appreciate Accelerated Ruin even more.

Fun From Rear: with the lot locked, this view will be out of reach