I've always liked the video installation art shows that the Portland Experimental Film Festival has done each year because there is nothing like a big dark crowded room full of video screens and projections. This year is no exception and though nothing strikes me a particularly outstanding this effort put on by Gallery Homeland
and Grand Detour is very solid affair.
Wierd Fiction performing at Rumblings
What's more it has all the frenetic yet soldid energy everyone seemed to want from the 2011 Contemporary Northwest Art Awards and the Portland2012... but did not get. What's more with a bag of Bollywood (chutney flavored) popcorn this show delivered the kind of festival atmosphere/art that larger scale art scene's like Portland require (17,000+ artists last I heard) of its institutions. It is a kind of social "get out of the studio" mixer that such rambling group shows become venues for.
Here are some thoughts:
Gorgeous Media by Christina Santa Cruz at EFF
Christina Santa Cruz's Gorgeous Media would have been just another merchant of nostalgic 50's kitsch with it's retro booth of classic furniture and television if I didn't like the stop motion animated video of a flood sweeping through a typical American town so much. Obviously the flood waters were a metaphor for the invisible waves that surround, delight and drown us in information every day. In the days of television before the internet this was a homogenizing force, now it is much less so. Here the overall effect was similar to Michael McMillan's installations one of which Reed showed many years ago, very nostalgic, somewhat cozy and more innocent than things have become where extremely customized content panders to the viewer's every whim and taste.
Julie Perini at Rumblings for EFF
My favorite piece was Julie Perini's Video Projection with Movement. The simple visual motif of dried leaves, a few wind making fans and a piece of paper flapping in the breeze acts as a kinesthetic feast in this somewhat difficult space. The piece of paper, perhaps the ultimate blank slate... calls to mind the viewers own constant state of agitation being pushed and pulled every which way in this video festival environment. The leaves themselves present an off season sense of Fall calm.
Fairbanks at Rumblings for EFF
Nearby Catherine Fairbanks' Transference is a Tough Row to Hoe, dealt in images of mated pairs. In this case two actors in bird suits doing whatever a couple might do in a lake. It was well presented though the sound at the opening was difficult to hear. The production and busy melancholy of companionship were well executed.
Rauer at Rumblings for EFF
Similarly I liked Kelly Rauer's P.O.V. (reflexive) reminded me of works by Jenine Antoni and early Pipilotti Rist for it's stark and multifaceted view of the body in motion. It was very kinesthetic and the non-flat screen TV's gave the whole thing a slightly nostalgic feel. It looks a bit dated in a knowing way though.
Future Death Toll
Performances by Wierd Fiction and Future Death toll made use of repeating barrages of images. Wierd fiction dresses up in somewhat Wes Anderson-esque costumage and then inserts the proceedings into their projections with green screen glitchery while echo-y surf-ish music drones on. I didn't catch FDT's actual performance but by using matching orange overalls as a costume it turns their every action into a performance. Every city simply must have a performance group that runs around in Devo-esque coveralls?
I wasn't terribly fond of Lydia Greer's A Self Made House which seemed like an excuse to use one of those excellent golden glitter curtains and Ajna Lichau's On Demand was yet another exploration of the media's demands upon women's bodies with the text projected onto her naked body. It's a move I've seen hundreds if not thousands of times and requires a bit more to stop being an anonymous sociopolitical move. Also, Neil Ira Needelman's Loud Loop was yet another exercise in pulsing op art forms... meh but not the worst thing in the show which I wont even point out.
Overall though it is a solid show so don't let that lone total stinker deter you. Go see Rumblings at Gallery Homeland
through June 13th.
I agree this show was strong, but you have your local history wrong here Jeff. The Experimental Film Festival Portland, which this show is a part of, is in its first year. You are confusing this with the Peripheral Produce/ PDX Film Festival which had a video installation component during its run from 2001-2009. Similar spirit, but different organizations and different curators, FYI.