A beautiful warm sunny day. CS and I bike to some Chelsea galleries and then on to P.S.1. C loved a 3-screen video of a Chinese train trip to Tibet, which I thought was lovely, but essentially a nice travelogue. The same artist, Darren Almond, also did a massive red steel “digital” clock: just the numbers made of vacant spots on a red steel face — vacant spots that mechanically changed every minute. It was so big that the LED trapezoids that made up the numbers initially seemed abstract.
I liked that part — something commonplace and ordinary had become something wondrous and amazing.
In other galleries there was a hilarious video (“Trilling”) by Catherine Ross which was part of the “Silicon Valley” show. The video scrolled right to left across the screen, a series of loops of actors from the TV show Three’s Company cropped so that all we saw was their torsos and hand gestures. The gestures all look vaguely over the top or spastic as if they were all twitching crazily or doing some nutty modern dance. I couldn’t stop laughing.
C liked a group of taxidermied animals and teddy bears in a dark alcove that had been generously smeared with peanut butter. There was a funny warning sign outside that peanut butter was used in this show. We both loved a sound piece by EV Day in the boiler room that mostly amplified a cat purring — it was super creepy, it really made your skin crawl. After a couple of minutes the sound swelled and crescendoed and then morphed via some digital manipulation then returned to the creepy loud purring.
Vik had a mini-retrospective there as well — and though I’m pretty familiar with his stuff, it was good to see some pieces again or see others not simply through the images of them reproduced in books. Shrunken to book size, some of the disjunctions between seeing the illusion of an image and at the same time realizing that image is made of wire, pasta or toys gets lost. But then, aren’t all reproduced images made of some smaller things — ink dots, photo chemical grain, pixels? His new book has a lot of his writing in it, which is a nice surprise. He’s a wonderful and generous writer who uses entertaining and amusing anecdotes as metaphors for serious ideas.