Video Portraits at Micaela Gallery

Tonight opens the full compilation of my Video Portraits artwork in the video room at Micaela Gallery (San Francisco) as part of the Winter Salon 2009 series.

strm_carnivale_800

The opening reception is (Nov 5th 2009) and the show runs through January. Video Portraits (2006-2008) has been shown internationally including venues in Spain and China as well as more locally in Vancouver, Portland, Chicago and other cities, attracting a global audience and has been featured in one of KQED’s SPARK television segments. I am pleased that Micaela Van Zwoll has chosen to feature this work as one of the video pieces she will be representing.

To make this video, I ask strangers at different events or from specific demographics ranging from Chinese New Year’s Parade to surfers on a beach to taxi drivers in India for a photograph. Without telling them, I switch my digital camera to video mode, capturing them posing for the camera with fixed smiles and uncertain looks. There are 17 “episodes” each lasting for 2-3 minutes.

After the session, I let them in on the trick and to date, everyone has laughed at themselves as they strike a pose that reveals their truer selves. Advancing the notion of portraiture into video form, I draw links in this work to a cultural shift to a documentation-based global world.

Here is one such segment from San Francisco Wondercon convention.

Changing Labor Value for 8 bucks

Come to the Changing Labor Value panel at the New School today, Tuesday  at 5:30pm. Victoria Scott and I will be showing a portion of the No Matter — a fly-through video in the reception beforehand. I’ll be there in person!

nm_flythru_newschool2

This event is a prelude to Internet as Playground and Factory that will be taking place from November 12-14 where we’ll be presenting the No Matter project in context of the labor that we contracted in Second Life to materialize 40 imaginary objects.

BiW at JTTP

Brooklyn is Watching (BiW) hosts a sim in Second Life which is a wonderful curatorial project that invites SL artists to create artwork on their space. The resulting creations range in quality and are subject to commentary by a weekly podcast by several commentators. I’ve been a guest podcaster a few times, participating in a production of the absurd: a radio podcast commentary of an entirely visual environment that most people don’t understand.

jayvanburen

Jay Van Buren, the main guy currently behind BiW

On Friday I went to the BiW presentation of The Final Five at Jack the Pelican Presents (JTTP) Gallery in Williamsburg. These were the five selected artworks which were presented on montiors with headphones and a voting sheet. My major critique is that the BiW project seems to presents Second Life art from the vantage point of an insider’s perspective rather than a contemporary art point-of-view.

This doesn’t have to be the case. There are a number of works which bridge the virtual and the real including RMB City (Cao Fei), Invisible Threads (Stephanie Rothenberg and Jeff Crouse), The Salt Satyagraha (Joe Delappe), in all fairness to the dialogue, my collaboration with Victoria Scott, No Matter and not to overlook the recent Summer of Love 2.0 (Patrick Lichty)

The presentation of the BiW works at the gallery reinforced this — a level of confusion for the viewers who often had more general questions of what is Second Life and so often didn’t even understand what they were judging. Coupled with the fact that you had to put headphones on to listen to one our rambling podcasts, I wondered how successful this physical exhibition was.

jtpp_biw

Final Five at Jack the Pelican Presents

The strength of Brooklyn is Watching is in the community it creates — and I would like to see them explore this side of things: discussing Second Life works but in a way that creates a tangible bridge to the real. This is why the podcasts have been sucessful because it makes the broadcasters and the audience strain to understand what is not in front of them: an imaginary realm that reflects the nature of Second Life itself.

I had a little fun of my own and during the show itself, I sneaked onto the computer and transferred $50L to my own avatar, Great Escape from the BiW avatar. Hey, performance art costs money!

paid_ge