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The critics (i.e., other artists) take aim. Referencing the interview Paddy Johnson did with Michael Bell-Smith and me, Joe McKay recently posted a comment that applies to the discussion about LCDs, CRTs, projections, and the like. (He didn't actually taking potshots in it--the remarks were some of the most supportive writing I've gotten.) I've tacked it on to my post-interview follow-up to Mike's last comment in the interview, as if it were a real conversation and not some cobbled-together thing.
MBS: [...] The work in the [Foxy Production] show was created with a gallery in mind and I wanted it to feel that way. Rather than playing off the tensions of bringing new media into the gallery - as I feel Tom has with his show – I wanted it to feel like a natural fit, again, like maybe this is just how we make art these days.The photo at the top of Marcin Ramocki, artist, vertexList gallery proprietor, and sharpshooter, is courtesy artMovingProjects. Below is my installation shot showing the TVs in my just-closed exhibition.
I don’t think flat screens in a gallery feel especially high tech. For me they’re less loaded than traditional TVs/monitors (which feel consciously lo-tech), high end CRT NTSC monitors (which tie into a history of video art in the gallery) or large projections (which feel cinematic or as Tom pointed out, aggressive).
For me, the containment of wall-mounted flat screen monitors is about putting the work on a physical and spatial par with painting, drawing or photography. I think creating that kind of familiar physical relationship between the viewer and the work may serve to combat the tech gap: at the very least the viewer knows how to deal with the piece on a physical level. [...]
TM: These are good points. I want to add that, although I recently did a blog post called "Showing new media work in a gallery: what's at stake," that isn't the main content of my show, any more than Mike's content was his delivery system. The gear I used is to deliver the strongest statement--which is to say, to get the most out of the pulsing abstractions, repurposing of a Star Trek sensor as a "simulacratracker" (as one commenter described it), and the embarassing acting out (or faux acting out) of Guitar Solo (which actually is on a tiny flat screen). I've argued with a couple of people about my use of tube TVs instead of LCDs for three of the pieces. I chose the tubes because they deliver a punchy image, punchier to me than what I'm seeing on flats these days. Tubes aren't that "retro"--J&R Music and Video still has a wall of CRTs for sale as an alternative to the wall of LCDs. I know, it won't last, but we're talking about the present. Translating animated GIFs from a computer to a single dedicated image on a TV adds an element of the unexpected, and a gritty texture I like. These choices aren't just to emphasize "new media in the gallery"--although that's definitely an aspect of the content.
Joe McKay: Tom, I felt your CRTs and DVD players had content. It took a minute to figure out what was wrong, but you just don't see home made GIFs on T.V. When I see a CRT I still think "T.V." - when I see a flat panel, I think monitor, be it video, computer or tv as its input. It made your show interestingly disquieting.
In a sense, the DVD froze the GIFs in time. I liked the presentation of Michael's work but the fact that they were playing off of computers made me wish that some of the content was being dynamically created and not just loops. But I can understand his decision, it is "computer art" so why not have it play off of a computer? It keeps the work from being "just a video", and is way easier for a collector to get her/his head around.
When I saw your show I felt that the projection was in conversation with the Ecstasy show, (even though I'm pretty sure you didn't see it, it was up in LA).
I felt your piece was a deliberately low tech attempt at sensory overload. The big problem with Ecstasy was the fact that every piece was expensive, and expensive looking. What I enjoyed about both yours and Michael's show was the humor, something that's in short supply in a lot of digital media.