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one would dare. This invitation to par­ ticipate introduced an interactive theme evident in Jim Campbell's neigh­ boring installation. Jim Campbell's Shadow (for Heisenberg) was the most sophisticated high-tech spectacle in the exhibition. Conceptu­ ally, this work illustrates Heisenberg's uncertainty principle [1], which states that nothing can be accurately measured and that the element introduced in mea­ surement affects the measurement itself. Aesthetically, Campbell's work grapples with interactivity in a unique way. Perhaps because Campbell's piece was included in this milieu, it donned an artistic luster that might not be evi­ dent in the context of a more high-tech arena. But here, instead of being dis­ played as an object, it was dropped into its own cubicle as an installation, and the lack of relationship to open space tarnished its aesthetic potential. If situ­ ated openly in the gallery, Shadow might have been more successful as a self-contained sculpture. The viewer sees a clear box in which a small Buddha resides. Campbell de­ scribes his selection as "almost a cliche, but it works in terms of the piece being about not seeing what you want to see" [2]. As the viewer approaches the work, a list screen gradually obscures it, pre­ venting the viewer from getting a closer look. This kind of interactivity contrasts with most other interactive work, where viewer/participants can control what they wish to see. Black-and-white images were pro­ jected onto the wall from the far end of the box. These ectoplasmic projections comprised changing, irregular forms that dwarfishly reflected the viewer's fe­ verish attempts to look into the box. If these reflections were large enough to engulf the space and therefore empha­ size the spectator's search, the total ef­ fect might have been more dynamic. On the other hand, Louis deSoto of­ fered a video of television static in an in­ stallation perfectly scaled to its enclosed space. He says that it is "based on a simple media phenomenon" [3]. I inter­ pret this work as pure audiovisual ab­ straction. Or, taking my view a step fur­ ther to enrich the experience, I could alternately view the piece conceptually as either interventions from outer space (as deSoto suggests) or an animated ver­ sion of the quintessential minimalist art of stripes across a canvas. DeSoto's piece calls to mind a number of contemporary artists such as early Frank Stella, Brice Marden or Agnes Martin. A more temporal piece, but one that contributes dramatically to the overall character of the exhibit, was John i.ii|si!!;,*>.p¥«i|p»ifj(»te': k "■■ '? s 1 ί;ί I Roloff's RottingFlame. This towering construction, a treelike form of steel and real oranges, protruded horizon­ tally from a wall. As a complement, re­ kindling the flamelike form of the tree, an adjacent videotape displayed images of fire through which scrolled a visual mantra of the names of physiologically active chemical compounds. Gail Wight broadened the scientific context of the exhibit with her Somatology Blisters (Fig. 2), a series of eye droppers and test tubes labeled and filled with bluish liquid; the test tubes were secured on Q _ panels and arranged in a grid. This imaginative spreadsheet of neurotransmitters offered a simple device for stimulating our central ner­ vous system. "Extreme nostalgia," "hys­ teria," "ambivalence," "conscious dream state" and "terror" were some of the conditions listed on the test tube labels. Visually eye-catching but inaccessible, the installation design made it ex­ tremely difficult for the art "pilgrim" to "mount the steps" and read the work. I was barely able to decipher the printed words half-hidden and buried upsidedown in the solutions. Her natural sci­ ence emulation piece, History of Wish­ ing, also hard to reach, prompted two observations: (1) Is this another kind of interactivity? and (2) Why does laborintensive graphic artwork induce te­ dium while arduous high-tech projects produce magical wonderment? In this exhibition, fantasy, playfulness, humor, scale, variety, color, language and psychology were used to manipulate the technological and scientific informa­ tion toward an aesthetic validity. References 1. Artist's discussion with Steven Jenkins, Art-week (17 February 1994). 2.Jenkins [1]. 3...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1530-9282
Print ISSN
0024-094X
Pages
pp. 78-79
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-04
Open Access
No
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