Walking around Chelsea (part 1)

Going through all the flyers and papers i gathered in New York during my last trip there i realized there were still tons of exhibitions i should mention.


The first show on my list (compiled with the help of precious ArtCal) was Reel to Reel, the first solo exhibition in New York of Texas-based artists Jeff Shore and Jon Fisher.

The walls of the gallery are covered with electro-kinetic installations, each containing an automated video set or electro acoustic instrument. Once activated, mechanisms manipulate the sets to create motion and play the instruments. Tiny surveillance cameras within each of the sets provide multiple vantage points, moving the viewer through the scenes. The live video sequences are projected onto the gallery wall, and the accompanying audio is generated in real-time as the miniature sets are manipulated, relating an integrated soundtrack for the video sequences. The sound is produced with a combination of automated mechanical instruments, modified audio equipment, and a collection of digital audio samples that are sequenced and mixed in real-time according to custom algorithms.


Actually while i was there watching, listening, reading the paper describing the works and taking pictures, i didn’t notice much of that happening. The pieces were certainly a fascinating collage of electronic components, pure porn if you’re into circuit boards and old record players, i particularly liked the way the composition was framed by wires. The b&w video projected on the central wall was compelling, slow and mysterious and the music fitted the whole atmosphere.


I actually had very very little perception that anything was “interactive” in the gallery. I suspect that these works deserved to receive more attention than the one i was ready to give them.

Reel to Reel is on view at the Clementine Gallery until October 6.

The other new media art exhibition i had to check out is Eddo Stern‘s new work at Postmasters.

Stern has been involved in video gaming culture as a practitioner and theorist for many years. The kinetic shadow sculptures and 3D computer animation videos on show were inspired by his participation in online fantasy games, in particular some 2000 hours played in the most popular MMORPG: World of Warcraft.

0aaseagalo.jpgSteven Seagal Lotus

My favourite were the kinetic sculptures. They demonstrate how an exploration of online game dynamics and aesthetics can be translated into something you wouldn’t normally associate with MMORPG: colourful and simple sculptures with a nice old-fashion charm. In “Man, Woman, Dragon”, for example, WoW is reduced to its core elements: the cult of Chuck Norris, female elves, and a slain dragon. The action movie star is apparently achieving a (very tongue-in-cheek) hero status in WoW.


The video “BestŠ Flame WarŠ EverŠ (King of Bards vs. Squire Rex, June 2004)” is a 3D computer animation diptych recreating an online flame war about degrees of expertise around the computer fantasy game Everquest, as followed by the artist in June 2004.

Most of that is obviously lost on me since my contact with WoW is limited to pretending to listen to the adventures of my boyfriend’s Tauren Hunter avatar. Still, that didn’t prevent me from enjoying the cobra, cowboys and monsters shadow sculptures.

More images.
The show runs at Postmasters Gallery, until October 13.

Related: Rozin’s interactive mirrors at Bitforms.