Saturday, August 8, 2009

Recommended: Animated GIFs & Mac "Endless Columns" in TO

With Twitter hacks and Facebook crashes frustrating web users worldwide by cutting them off from the 24/7 info drug (admittedly, I speak as one of those frustrated tech-addicts), it was interesting to me to see a few works and shows around Toronto this week that deal with related issues.

1) Andrew Reyes PlahPlahPlah at Diaz Contemporary (Part of the group show Air Conditioned Jungle)
For PlahPlahPlah, Reyes stacks partly open white iBooks and silver Macbooks one on top of the other, and wraps them roughly in ribbon. Many references are at the ready—house of cards, super-rapid design obsolesence, Brancusi's Endless Columns, Mac-as-"I'm better than ya'll" signifier—but however it might read to others I loved it.

2) Save for WEB at Xpace
Save for Web consists of three projections spooling what seems like an infinite amount of animated GIFs from international artists. To me, this is what the original dada artists would have been doing if they had been alive way back when. Mass media remixes + absurd nonsense + 2009 = Animated GIFs. It's impossible to see all of these in one viewing, but worth a drop by (ends today).

3) Trivial Pursuits: Mass Distraction at Interaccess
Trivial Pursuits: Mass Distraction is Interaccess' 9th annual emerging artists exhibit. Though any group show can be hit and miss, there is some interesting stuff here. Beatriz's Herrera's trivia monster is like Robot Wars meets Egyptian mythology meets Wikipedia, with a four-legged, human faced robot that spews random information at gallery visitors. Blake Williams' Hotel Video piece is more subtle, seemingly raising issues about the travel of information and memory across time and space—made me wonder "is the Internet a hotel of the mind"?—even though the artist would likely shudder to hear me say that. Erin Gee's interactive work, which plays opera arias when you brush a couple of eeriely real wigs, is also quite memorable in a slight horror-movie type of way. But it's curator Jennifer Chan's essay that I found most valuable—in it, she admits to being "Internet addicted" like many of her peers, and yet offers the researched studiousness to reflect on same.

Also closing today that I liked: Yvonne Singer's installation at Akau—a mashup of old art magazines, turned-over tables, dolls, bronze mirrors, really interesting, wish I'd seen it sooner.

Image from Xpace

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