I have been absent from the blog and the Center for a while, doing many exciting and important things (I had a lot of homework), but I made my grand, triumphant return today (I limped in because I tripped over myself and feel down my stairs, twisting my ankle), and was delighted that new exhibitions were up in the gallery for me to explore (I really was delighted!). And my excitement was warranted. The exhibitions are all fascinating, thought-provoking, and beautiful.
The exhibition in the main gallery is the intriguingly titled Once Upon a Time, There Was the End, organized by Rachel Gugelberger, independent curator and writer. The show grapples with both the heralded end of print media and the modalities of the book in the face of the digitization of literary works. Artists in the show include: Madeline Djerejian, Ellen Harvey, Warren Lehrer, Loren Madsen, MomenTech, Mitch Patrick, Emilio Chapela Pérez, Lisa Schilling, Sara Shaoul, Karina Aguilera Skvirsky, and Andrew Norman Wilson.
One of my favorite pieces was Emilio Chapela Perez’s According to Google, a set of 18 digital cloth printed books. Each book is titled with a Google search term, ranging from 9/11 and fascism, to Beautiful and The Mona Lisa, and the contents of each book are images that resulted when the search term was used in 2008. The result is strangely engrossing, and caused me to think about how iconic images change over time, how loose our associations between concrete and conceptual words and images are, and how Google functions as a uniquely universal mirror of the American consciousness. It also made me want to go home and play the game where you start typing phrases into the Google search box and look at their suggested recommendations.
I also spent a lot of time looking at MomenTech’s advertising campaign for a fictional product, entitled P.U.L.S.E. (Personal Universal Library System for Eternity). As someone who long resisted buying a Kindle, still sometimes feels guilty for owning a Kindle, and often feels stupid for feeling guilty for owning a Kindle, I thought the work was a very interesting exploration of the ways we view literature, our personal libraries, and ownership of and materialism in general. The piece is also funny, engaging, and extremely well designed.
Finally, Looking-Glass iPad, Kindle & Nook are plexiglass mirror, laser-etched with the first page of Through the Looking Glass. The work plays with the idea of mirrors in Carroll’s text and as used in technology and with the fixed or static nature of literature and technology.
The show will remain on view for the next month, until June 28th, so make sure to stop by the center before then and view Once Upon a Time, There Was the End.
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