Excerpt from a poem from "We Keep Our Victims Ready" by Karen Finley, 1988 After a funeral someone said to me - you know I only see you at funerals. Its been 3 since June - been 5 since June for... [more]
Excerpt from a poem from "We Keep Our Victims Ready" by Karen Finley, 1988 After a funeral someone said to me - you know I only see you at funerals. Its been 3 since June - been 5 since June for me - He said I've made a vow - I only go to death parties if i knew someone before they were sick - Why? Cause - cause - cause I feel I feel here so sad cause I never knew their life and now I only know their death And because I am a member of the Black Sheep family - We are sheep with no shepherd - We are sheep with no straight & narrow We are sheep with no meadow We are sheep who take the dangerous pathway thru the mountain range to get to the other side of our soul We are the black sheep of the family called Black Sheep folk. We always speak our mind appreciate differences in culture believe in sexual preference believe in no racism no religionism - and we'll fight for what we believe but usually we're pagens. There's always one in every family Even when we're surrounded by bodies we're always alone - You're born alone and you die alone written by a black sheep. You can't take it with you - written by a former black sheep. Black Sheep folk look different from their family It's the way they look at the world We're a quirk of nature - We're a quirk of fate - Usually our family, our city, our country never understands us - We knew this from when we were very young that we weren't meant to be understood. That's right. Thats our job... ... Don't worry -- get used to it.
I went to the D.U.M.B.O. Art Under the Bridge Festival in search of cool video, not sure what I would find, but optimistic that there was good stuff to be had. I've had experience with the Festival before and knew that the curatorial range is strong and vibrant, and that video_dumbo always has an impressive program, so I was optimistic. But I also know that art is a fickle lover, and I wasn't surefire I'd see anything that would raise my spirits. Happy to say my sojourn to the Dumbo Festival was a stimulating and rewarding, and my video quest successful!
I started Friday night curious to see Sean Capone's piece Camera Rosetum in the Archway since I had recently learned of the extensive renovations that the Dumbo Improvement District had completed there, and knew what a beautiful 'canvas' he had to work on. Could his videos stand up to the site? I was curious to see...
With his encompassing and baroque colorfields exploding, blossoming, melting, and bizarrely metamorphosizing, Capone matched the impressive architectural space, and complemented it well. His computer animated projections were wholly mesmerizing and riveting -- a morphing environmental installation that surrounded everyone watching -- and a wonderful addition to the festival program.
On another side of Dumbo, Ed Purver's projection, A Show of Hands, on an abandoned building by the east river was a very different sort of thing. Also large and awesome in scale, his projections were of hands signing and playing -- bopping out of the windows of the building and then sliding back in. They were hard to photograph because of all the movement and low-light, but captivating in their mysterious playfulness, and enigmatic communication.
Of a much more personal and intimate nature, and aptly within one of the buildings instead of out on the street, was Cat del Buono's video entitled Public feeding. Situated inside because of an unexpected exhibition location change, Buono's video was alittle hidden away, but definitely worth the hunt. Provocative and confrontational yet still nurturing and tender, this video made me pause and wonder.
After viewing Cat's piece I returned to video_dumbo where I spent alot of time. Their program was dense with over 50 different international video artists, a video "pod", a book/DVD release and screening at Powerhouse Books, guest curators, and a joint presentation of the 25th anniversary of the Standby Program from NYC. There was a huge amount to video to see, in different formats and at all different times, and great job done by curators Caspar Stracke and Gabriela Monroy. Some selections of favorite videos viewed below:
A Little Girl Dreams of a New Pluralism Meanwhile The Old War Continues by Les Leveque, 2009, 1:07:11
Dystopia Series by J.G. Zimmerman, 2009, 6:22 min loop
Red Cabinet, by Kyung Woo Han, 2005, 2:30 min
ROOF, James Nares, 1975 (Outtakes/Excerpts) 7 min from Standby Program
if you missed the 13th Annual D.U.M.B.O. Art Under the Bridge Festival this year you missed a really great art-filled weekend, and should, perhaps, type it into your electronic calendar for next year! I'm sure everyone who participated is resting now, but i bet there will be a 14th annual to look forward to. I will be.
This years D.U.M.B.O. Art Under the Bridge festival -- the 13th Annual -- was an art and performance filled weekend, and not to be missed. The turnout was great, the Dumbo Art Center gallery show was encompassing, and the artworks thoughout the neighborhood were diverse, fun and engaging.
At the Dumbo Art Center on Washington Street, The Experience of Green, created by Wade Kavanaugh and Stephen B. Nguyen, was a Chelsea-quality gallery installation of huge, abstracted trees made of red paper, some of which you can walk into. This installation took 6 months of planning and labor, and the resulting environment is encompassing and very impressive, a veritable fantasy forest for children and adults alike.
Across the street, Jai Hi Ahn and Deborah Simon's works were located in the building lobby of 33 Washington. Ahn's Waterscape of blue PVC tubes created an abstract cloud hovering and seemingly referencing the river nearby, and Simon's Northern Fur Seals, dive from the ceiling in a menacing but quasi-playful way.
Chin Chih Yang's interactive performance up the street, Human Sculpture, invited viewers to attach difference pieces of trash to his body to create a new body suit for him... was it armor, or a new business suit, or a monster disguise? Children and adults were all loving the process, and actively engaged in foraging through the garbage materials, and taping things onto Yang, who also seemed to be having a great time being transformed.
Olek's 100% Acrylic Art Guards, in their knitted camoflauge and acrylic full-body garments could be seen at different locations throughout the festival, guarding the park as bizarre otherworldly sentries, posing in front of the gallery, or walking silently though the festival. Not quite menacing, but also not inviting, I felt attracted but also wary. I couldn't fuily place what their intent was.
The performance piece by Alexandra Halky caught my eye immediately, and was a very pleasant surprise. Halky is a h.s. festival intern and was in an arts internship program led by Victoria Calabro, (their teacher), and in collaboration with DAC. This piece was the culmination of the internship and a great indicator of the high-quality work we all have to look forward to as these young artists continue to mature. Bravo!
Hidemi Takagi's multi-colored and multi-cultural photographs of foods purchased from throughout the 5 boroughs, Blender, had a very playful spirit, and brought some of Corona's Lemon ice King's sweets to the festival which the kids and adults all loved.
I stumbled upon Anemone, by Myde El-Maghrabi, and was enchanted by this strange-looking vegetation. It looked so natural and seemingly indigenous to the environment, but obviously was manmade because of its size and attached lighting.
Test-a-Bunny by Kate Kaman and Joel Erland made me laugh nervously, and I enjoyed the interactive and challenging scientific nature of the piece...
Sean Capone's Camera Rosetum was a standout computer animated video projection in the Archway. The dramatic Archway space was beautifully reconstructed by the Dumbo Improvement District this month, and Capone's dynamic and baroque visual imagery brought the space to life. Spanning the entire Archway ceiling space with 6 digital projectors, this monumental video projection was mesmerizing and at times breathtaking. A technical feat as much as an aesthetic one, we look forward to seeing more of Capone's work in the near future, and also to see what the Dumbo Improvement District will show there next.
Ed Purver's video projection A Show of Hands was another monumental video installation at the festival. A Show of Hands was projected onto an abandoned building in the park and this video was much more playful than Capone's. With huge projected hands coming out of windows and going back into them, playing with a ball, and signing enigmatic messages in American Sign Language, this video seemed to invite discussion about communication, and the limits and merits of attempting to bridge the gaps between us.
Erin Hudak's Rainbow Connection was a colorful, handwoven wigwam in Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park, which seemed like a safe refuge for the alternate lifestyle dreamer.
An Xiao's Phone-tastic View, which prompted viewers to text into their cell phone, gave Festival participants another perspective on the festival, skyline and bridge... Xiao's related project of getting funding for this sign using Kickstart, inform this work and Xiao's larger new media practice, and can be found on her Facebook page... Very interesting reading as background.
Gretchen Vitamvas's performance Ghost, invited festival viewers to consider women, war and history, as she slowly glided throughout the festival, not fully here, but not really there either.
To be shown at D.U.M.B.O. Art Under the Bridge Festival, Brooklyn, on the exterior of the Empire Stores building overlooking the East River, near the corner of Main St & Plymouth St, after dark
Keeps your eyes open for Ed Purver’s monumental video projections installation on the side of the Empire Stores building overlooking the East River.This impressive public art project receives messages from members of the public and translates them into American Sign Language, and projects the large images of arms and hands signing on the building’s architecture.The resulting videos of hands signing are projected onto buildings and look like they emerge from the windows of the architecture, inviting viewers to think about the architecture of free speech and public space in the age of Homeland Security and the presence/absence of the body in the built environment.
EP: Living in New York, surrounded by high-rise architecture that is packed full of people who don't know each other. I was just gazing out of a window one day and daydreamed the visual concept for A Show of Hands. When I'm in cities I really enjoy drifting off and transforming public spaces inside my imagination. Quite childlike, really, I suppose.
MG: How long have you been working on this project?
EP: I first had the idea back in the spring of 2008, but I didn't have time to actually start working on it for a year, until May 2009.
MG: How did you first get interested in new media? What is your attraction to it?
EP: When I first started working with new media, I was really attracted to its interactive potential. I'd been making a lot of multimedia performance stuff, and I wanted a change from needing the audience to come and passively consume what we had made. At that time, I wanted to create responsive environments that people could come and play with. But, actually, the media in my work is not especially 'New', even though I've made web-based projects and interactive installations. I think I'm more connected to video/film, photography, and spatial design/architecture.
MG: How/why did you get interested in such large, monumental projections?
EP: My interest in projections began with my work in theatre, working with projections, set design and actors. I've always been interested in architecture, but I became especially drawn to working with it in artistic ways after I had a really profound experience some years ago, when I perceived a large high-rise building as being fluid. This wasn't a drug experience or anything like that, but it was one of the most terrifying moments of my adult life and changed many of my assumptions about what stuff is 'made of'. From that point on, combining projections with architecture seemed like something I just naturally wanted to do.
I don't always want my projects to be large-scale, but this project is part of a series that plays with the relationship between the body and architecture/urban planning, and reversing the balance of scale that we are used to (and in so doing, making bodies larger than architecture as opposed to vice versa) is a visually engaging way of questioning how the built environment may sculpt our own consciousness and how the pathways of the city may shape the pathways of our psychology.
MG: On your Art+Culture profile page I see that you chose Jenny Holzer as someone you feel you work is related to. Could you explain that a little bit?
EP: The first time that I came into contact with Jenny Holzer's work was when I walked into a bookshop in San Francisco, and saw a book cover with a photograph of a huge illuminated sign outside a casino in Las Vegas displaying the words "Protect me from what I want". I thought it was genius. The way she temporarily usurped and transformed that visual broadcast was very attractive to me, it seemed rebellious but with such a mournful truth to it. Discovering her work really opened my mind to more possibilities of transforming space with light. So her work is a huge influence on me.
MG: How did you hear about DUMBO Art Under the Bridge Festival?
EP: I can't remember now - I guess someone told me about it. I actually had a different piece in this festival back in 2007 (Future Perfect), which I had made with a couple of friends of mine - Ariel Efron and Christian Croft.
MG: Where and when will your work be shown?
It will be shown after dark. Projected from the park onto the exterior of the Empire Stores building overlooking the East River, near the corner of Main St & Plymouth St