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But is this ART
From: Branko Popazivanov <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Thursday, December 11, 2008 11:01:54 AM
Subject: But is this ART
And now for something completely, light-hearted, hilarious, absurd and utterly ridiculous. This is what masquerades as "art’ at the Richmond Art Gallery these days. It’s an exhibit by two women so-called "artists" which is number of video scenes projected on big wall sized screens and it’s a mixture of male-bashing, radical feminism, radical environmentalist hysteria and God knows what else form of inane political correctness which is treated as profound commentary by our media pundits when in reality it’s nothing but mind-numbing propaganda and sloganeering all masquerading under the guise of art. This so-called "art" exhibit would indeed be totally hilarious, until we remember that the RAG is a tax-funded institution (people who bring you such "art" indeed belong in an institution) where actual tax payers have very little say in what gets exhibited there. I don’t know if I am supposed to weep or laugh hysterically at this.
I guess, it’s always better to laugh than to cry.
If you didn’t notice, the world is changing
From piñatas to Tintin to salmon, artists push conventional boundaries with video
by Matthew Hoekstra, Staff Reporter
A typical girl’s birthday party, complete with the requisite piñata bashing, is where Change Without Notice takes you first. Video cameras caught all the images of cake and conversation.
Meanwhile, an atypical mother-daughter scene is going on in the next room. Mom is reading the geopolitical Tintin tale The Land of the Black Gold while an adjoining video screen is showing the ice-melting effects of global warming.
Outside, a video projection appears to be showing salmon swimming into a desert and a healthy river turning into a desert.
It’s all part of Change Without Notice, a new exhibition at Richmond Art Gallery.
Susan Stewart and Seaton (who’s known only by a single name) have used immersive projections to transform the gallery space into something that’s difficult not to feel a part of.
The pair set out to joust open the box of social change as it’s being scorched by global warming. Their interest was particularly piqued by rituals society doesn’t seek to change, like Christmas dinner, Easter egg hunts or piñata-bashing birthdays.
The overlapping video projections attempt to upset convention in response to problems facing the environment, given their interconnectedness.
"I think the show is very accessible to families‑and to a broad range of people‑because I think that the ritual we’re showing in Open Broke (the birthday party) is very familiar to everybody that lives in North America," says Seaton, on a break from putting the finishing touches on the work.
The idea for Open Broke came from a scene at the pair’s housing co‑op. A young child’s birthday party they witnessed seemed to have prescribed roles for attendees, and there was also a piñata.
"When the little boy kids went up to bat the piñata, there was an encouragement for them to go at it with a great deal of violence, to be very proactive, to hit it very hard, to take on the challenge," says Stewart, an associate professor at Emily Carr University of Art and Design.
The girls, however, didn’t seem to have the skills to hit the piñata with appropriate technique. Stewart was struck by the social conditioning of children.
So when Seaton’s daughter Hannah was nearing her fifth birthday, the pair decided to hold the party in a studio at Emily Carr and film it from three angles. It would be a normal party, other than the fact it would be filmed.
In creating the exhibition, the term "social sustainability" was on the artists’ minds—the notion that you need to have as much social diversity as environmental diversity to combat global environmental crises.
"Social diversity means that we have as full a range of human ideas as possible for how to deal with this, and that we’re not erasing all of those options, as convention often does," says Seaton. "It’s particularly dangerous to maintain the status quo. If we’re going to change, who’s got the resources to really get us through that?"
Says Stewart: "We need all of our ideas. We need all of our best thinking around the crisis that we’re in."
In some ways, Change Without Notice is an art gallery taking risks; this is contemporary art broaching subjects some might not want to hear. But the artists see their work as a starting place in the exchange of ideas, and something that puts Richmond on the art community’s map.
"On one hand, change is happening whether we like it or not," says Seaton. "On the other hand, change is also an extraordinary creative moment. People are engaging with change all the time, without kind of a big plan, we’re doing it anyway—so I think we’re trying to capture both of those sensibilities."
Taken from The Richmond Review, Dec. 04/08, p. 17, Arts & Entertainment
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