Art Gallery 2005: Infinite Time and Spaceless Places
“Much of the art here re-contextualizes our preconceived ways of viewing time and especially space by altering the audiences perceptions of their own environment” - Linda Lauro-Lazin
By Caitlin Winner
Entering the art gallery you are greeted on the left by a strange human form with Gumby arms that is systematically chomping into ham hocks that slide by on a conveyor belt. After the 3D rendered figure takes one huge bite with two giant buck-teeth it tosses the meat into a pile in the back of a dirty room, does a little dance, and then flosses it’s teeth before taking another chunk of meat off the conveyor belt. For seven hours, bite after bite, the pile of meat and bones continues to grow. In this piece, Oral Fixations, Jessica Hodgins and her team take a darkly humors look at the habit of endless consumption and the resulting accumulation of waste.
Around the corner, Jon Meyer’s quietly beautiful screen based work features a series of rotating rooms. He explained that the software used to manipulate the images (into perspective) is his own, and that the sharpness and fine quality of the images is a result of the 30 inch 4 mega pixel screen and a lack of interlacing in the images. Under the screen a rotation control lets the viewer interact with the virtual "camera" and speeds up or slows down the pace of rotation. The artist remarked that he is interested in capturing a non-singular point of view in the cubist ideal of painting what you know and not what you see. Meyer noted that his most recent work is moving away from paper and will be entirely screen based. This is a sentiment I heard repeated around Gallery by more than one artist.
Ornamental Bug Garden 001 is another impressive screen based work. It is a hanging digital self-contained systems built by boredomresearch in 2004. The garden acts as a closed ecosystem where all the elements interact with each other and the environment according to specific rules. Bordemresearch wrote about this project: "The sensation or illusion of life is our key interest rather than a desire to create life itself. We are fascinated by the complex behavior exhibited by simple rules." The line between nature and technology is blurred, as the elements of the garden are both mechanical and organic.
Invited artist Camille Utterback contributes a large interactive space to the gallery. The works require the viewers to participate with their full body as their motion is tracked from above by custom coded video software. The path of any individual is represented in painterly way on a projected screen at the front of the installation. In this way, fleeting moments of human presence are captured and lost again as others pass though the space. Camille Utterback’s piece may be best described as an aesthetic system that responds fluidly and intriguingly to physical movement in the exhibit space.
A more tactile interactive work is located in a dark booth in the second room of the art gallery where spotlights shine up from the floor and illuminate floating skirts. Exhale: (breath between bodies) is a wearable computing art project. The skirts on display may be put on by participants who become part of the “aware-able” body network, a constructed community producing collective breaths.
In another dimly lit passageway tiny red lights fade against a black background of Campbell’s Ambiguous Icon series. Four grids of LED’s, two portraits and two moving figures hang, like paintings on the wall. These works are computer art without gradient images and a high-resolution monitor, yet there is a sense of abstract beauty in the forms. One of the LED panels has an angled sheet of diffusing plexiglass in front. As the pedestrians move from left to right the figures gradually change from a grouping of red dots to a continuous form, or metaphorically from a digital representation to an analog one.
This year’s digital art maps and traces threads though time and space. From the Exhale project, which makes a literal use of thread, to the Utterback’s piece which interprets the body’s transient passage through time, to Meyer’s timelessly looping rooms and Campbell’s endlessly walking pedestrians, all of the work presented challenges the viewer’s perception of time and place.
Art Gallery Gallery Chair Linda Lauro-Lazin offers her view on this years gallery: "Much of the art here re-contextualizes our preconceived ways of viewing time and especially space by altering the audiences perceptions of their own environment."