Saturday, February 16, 2008

Phone videos

Last night we attended an opening for a show ("Real Time")at the Dallas Center for Contemporary Art -- curated by a couple of friends of mine, John Pomara and Dean Terry. Okay, I'm stretching to call Dean a friend, but we have worked together and he and I have engaged in friendly conversations from time to time. (John and Dean teach at UT-Dallas, where I once worked as a painting teacher.) The premise of their show is projections of camera phone videos by a number of artists and art collectives in the area -- videos which are refreshed daily in short snippets they're calling microart. Uber-techno-guy that he is, Dean has set up a Web site for the show here.

The opening was rather odd. They charged admission, for one thing -- Joan Davidow, the director is working hard to raise big dollars for the joint's new building, but jeeze, a sawbuck to drink art wine, groove to a DJ's turntable tunes and nibble from a fruit plate struck me as a PR mistake.

On the other hand, I'm inclined to think that the show itself will evolve into a really interesting event. Any exhibit that includes Ludwig Schwarz singing "Time after Time" to his cat holds promise for seriously whacked future antics.

Here's an excerpt from Dean's curatorial statement: "Microart is about accepting and exhibiting (mostly) failure rather than (mostly) success. It is about the composite and sequential effect of a large number of small bits that create a stream rather than fewer, individual substantive statements. And its about honesty and directness of the process. Individual posts may be disposable, like most cultural productions in consumer society, but the goal is that the cumulative effect is not."

Some ifs:

If you're reasonably competent and if you hang around long enough, you run into certain sweet ironies like the fact that I was the first art teacher of Kirstin Macy, one of the artists in John and Dean's show.

If anybody wants to participate in "Real Time," Dean said there will be a portal for video donations on the show's Web site. When I checked just now, I didn't see anything that looked to me like a way to contribute. But I've missed things like that before.

If you visit Dean's personal site (linked above), be sure to check out his documentary "Subdivided." It ran last fall on KERA, the Dallas PBS affiliate, and I was quite impressed. We're going to get him out here to Commerce to lecture soon as we can.

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