Portland art blog + news + exhibition reviews + galleries + contemporary northwest art

recent entries

Monday Links
Last day, Mary Henry at Archer
Resist: Inauguration at Una Gallery
Early February links
First Thursday Picks February 2017
Dead tree media & dead horse flogging news
Post Snowpocalypse Weekend Picks
More Disjecta'd
New Year opportunities
Monday Integrity Links
First Thursday Picks January 2017
Jason Berlin + Alanna Risse at Rainmaker

recent comments

danmc32
Double J

categories

 

Book Review
Calls for Artists
Design Review
Essays
Interviews
News
Openings & Events
Photoblogs
Reviews
Video
Links
About PORT

regular contributors

 

Tori Abernathy
Amy Bernstein
Katherine Bovee
Emily Cappa
Patrick Collier
Arcy Douglass
Megan Driscoll
Jesse Hayward
Sarah Henderson
Jeff Jahn
Kelly Kutchko
Drew Lenihan
Victor Maldonado
Christopher Moon
Jascha Owens
Alex Rauch
Gary Wiseman

archives

 

Guest Contributors
Past Contributors
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005

contact us

 

Contact us

search

 


syndicate

 

Atom
RSS

powered by

 

Movable Type 3.16

This site is licensed under a

 

Creative Commons License

Tuesday 05.01.07

« Again, 3 Wins Out as the Magic Number | Main | New Seattle Art Museum opens, designed by Portland architect »

Retinal Reverb Revisited

RetinalReverb1.jpg
"Coyote Search" Terry Chatkupt

Upon entering the opening show for this year's PDX Film Fest, one encountered a shift in perception; the space-time continuum of linear living was altered somehow, and the viewer suddenly found him/herself immersed completely within a realm of video. The subtle bluish glow of screens and projections created an almost underwater swoon broken by intermittent bleeps, coyote yelps and the gamey, dramatic breath of a child's game. The effect was hypnotic. Yet, what exactly was altered in this sudden sea of screens and light? Of images captured (or made?) from our very real, very tangible world and then played back to us? The late great Baudrillard

jean-baudrillard.jpg
The late Jean Baudrillard

would have perhaps turned up his nose in admittance that this was all a farce, intended merely to maintain our delusions of the Hypperreal with the exact medium which creates and maintains so much of it, and thus perhaps furthering the conundrum.

In those four too short days, the artists and curators brought together to form Retinal Reverb endeavored to exhibit the extent of what artists across the country are attempting within the rather tricky medium of video. The space for the opening show could not have been more apropos. The hangeresque warehouse was like a giant's lung that allowed each piece to breathe and resound, existing as fully as needed. The curators at Dia (website) and Italian academics alike would have applauded, "Here! Here!" to the choice of such a space.

The breadth of the video work that Retinal Reverb addressed was expansive. Each of the artists used the medium of video as a most playful forum in which both the formal and conceptual exploration of ideas was examined. There was an apparent awareness of the created conversation each piece could possibly generate, yet I had to wonder if that awareness extended into the art historical knowledge of the medium and its unfortunate ability to be used too haphazardly. Within the medium of video, there is perhaps the expectation that it might not be examined as critically as other mediums, given its relatively short history and extreme prevalence within everyday western life. The bit of statement made by the collective, "The Experimental Team "Hope" Folk Art Ensemble Experiment", embodied this sentiment as they assume the viewers conclusions too brashly.

Callmeishmael.jpg
"Calle Me Ishmael" The Experimental Team "Hope" Folk Art Ensemble Experiment

Upon seeing the giant papier-mache monster with its title,"Call Me Ishmael" (which also happens to be the first line of Herman Melville's "Moby Dick"), emblazoned across a VHS tape in its claw, and then perhaps attempting to decipher the video of a video emanating from its head, one attempted to string together these bits of very specific, very loaded bits of formal clues. The bit of statement seems to convey that all of these formal clues lead to the rather dead end conclusion that the artists desire the viewer to think that television is some sort of void, a sort of figurative whale's belly that will swallow you whole. However, this seems a bit of a one-liner to me, but perhaps that is because I have never read "Moby Dick" nor seen "Point Break".

Other pieces in the show seemed almost to talk to each other around and through each other within the space, once again confounding their dimensions. Dan Gilsdorf's "Rail"

Rail.jpg

"Rail" Dan Gilsdorf

dealt poetically with the notions of perception in real time, projected video time, and the speed of light. The projection of the moving train onto the wall demystified the image projected, destroying all myths of video as reality and thus the notions of the Hyperreal. At one point during the opening, I witnessed the artist momentarily adjusting the train on the track. He stepped in front of the project's tiny camera then, and his face was suddenly projected onto the wall, enormous compared to the size of the toy train. It seemed an accidental accent to the piece, a fortunate witnessing of the human aspect of the artist's very relevant concerns. Even the shadow created by train on the floor beneath the rail seemed to conjure the endless rotation of sun and earth, the only true forces by which our lives are guided, despite our constructed artifices.

From the opposite side of the exhibition space, Mike Bray's "Meatlocker"

Meatlocker.jpg
"Meatlocker" Mike Bray


seemed to converse with and further push Gilsdorf's ideas into a more specific arena. Bray recognizes the influence of the intake of images and ideas through the prevalence of film and video. By giving life to Jack Nicholson's image, Bray reifies the essence of the character in his memory. Nicholson becomes Bray's Frankenstein, literally breathing life into the character so alive in his memory.

While all of these pieces glowed and beeped to and at each other across the invisible plasma of the space and time running through the gallery, Emily Bulfin and Tahni Holt's piece, "Passing Out Heart Game" hummed at the center of the vortex.

heartgame1.jpg


heartgame2.jpg
"Passing Out Heart Game" Emily Bulfin and Tahni Holt


The physical nature of the piece forced the viewer to experience the piece literally inside and out, and as one walked around and through the walled armature, the notion of context subtly hid and flitted between screens and shadows. The dynamic images of the children and galaxy were cropped and cut so tightly that the viewer was forced to exist and interact within the work. We as onlookers were never allowed to relate and project bits of false emotion by being given the faces or identities of the children involved, and thus we mirrored the role of the children in their game: at once active victims, willingly entering into an experience of which we have no idea the outcome or effects. This notion of entering into an experience which may indeed be out of one's control plays endlessly throughout the fabric of modern life, especially in terms of what we experience with the medium of video. Video seems the freefall form running rampant throughout our lives, rarely asking whether we want the experience or not. In this way, we are its victim and its subject as it molds and infiltrates our consciousness, an experience of modern living that is literally beyond our control. "Passing Out Heart Game" is the poetic allegory of this experience.


Retinal Reverb's brief run was unfortunate, but packed a powerful punch, exploring and pushing the bounds of the medium of video. It was a show Portland needed to see and have, resting not on its comfy laurels, but asking itself and its viewers to push the possibilities.


Posted by Amy Bernstein on May 01, 2007 at 7:51 | Comments (2)


Comments

Moby Dick was the first serious book I got my hands on and sadly Ive seen Point Break... somehow neither of them make me think of winged paper mache devils... Ronnie James Dio does though!

Posted by: Double J [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 1, 2007 12:52 PM

Hyperreality truly is difficult staring into the square eye of a papier-mached Ishmael dragon.

Posted by: danmc32 [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 2, 2007 12:07 PM

Post a comment

Thanks for signing in, . Now you can comment. (sign out)

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)


Remember me?


s p o n s o r s
Site Design: Jennifer Armbrust   •   Site Development: Philippe Blanc & Katherine Bovee