Sunday, August 10, 2008

Dallas Video

We attended a panel discussion on video art today at the DMA. Organized by the Dallas Video Art Festival in conjunction with a video series currently running at Conduit Gallery, the DMA, The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, and other sites in the region, the talk consisted of off-the-cuff observations about the medium by the show's curators -- Bart Weis, Charles Dee Mitchell, and Carolyn Sortor -- and Paul Slocum, whose And/Or Gallery was host both to an interesting show I reviewed recently for Art Lies and to some of the video festival, too.

Slocum is a hacker and newer-than-new media artist who has a band called Tree Wave and a blog here (if you may be susceptible to seizures, beware the frenetic wallpaper). Years ago, Slocum took a beginning painting class from me, as he reminded me after the DMA event today. He says his paintings were mediocre. I can't remember his paintings, but I do remember him. That may be evidence to support his estimation of their value. It's good to see him doing well in his nerdly niche.

The presentation included snippets from a number of videos which either have already run in the series or will run in coming weeks. (The festival lasts five weeks) Notable snippets included Jon Pylypchuk's demented "Dating Game" reenactment (starring wieners -- the boudin blanc was an albino), Guy Ben-Ner's disarming "Moby Dick" retelling in his kitchen (co-starring his daughter), and Dominic Angerame's "Anaconda Targets," which consisted of unedited cockpit videos of smart bombs doing their terrible work on an Afghan battlefield.

As is usual for such Sunday afternoon museum talks, most of the discussion lingered on the surfaces of things. (Not that there's anything wrong with surfaces. Someday I'll write of my belief in mere appearances and the allure of skins.) Still, I'd have liked to hear a bit more about the recursive -- or redoubled -- concepts of time these artists addressed. Sortor was always on the brink of saying someting about it, but it never happened.

Observation to take to the bank: Dee Mitchell, discussing "Anaconda Targets" opined that the artist's not editing or otherwise altering the images or the audio rendered it a readymade documentary. Chew on that a moment and the importance of the surface may begin to appear.

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