"Precipice/PostModem": A Virtual Art Playground at Locust Projects
A ticker tape walkway, swing sets in the sky, and mounds of chewed bubblegum. They were just a few of the pieces on display at Locust Projects for the opening reception of Jillian Mayer's "Precipice/PostModem" exhibit this past weekend.
Briana Saati Jillian Mayer
"'PostModem' started last summer as a musical project. PostModem is a meta-pop band that only sings about the Internet and Internet related conspiracy theories," Mayer said. The exhibit builds on the concept, which became a 13-minute, experimental short film #PostModem made up of 10 mini videos. It was a collaboration between Mayer and Lucas Leyva, founder of the Borscht Film Festival, that went on to premiere at Sundance Film Festival 2013. The exhibit playfully tackles issues of human dependence on technology.
"We constantly turn to our screens to help us understand things and our hard-drives to store our information. I suppose this relationship will only intensify with time," Mayer said.
Stepping through the RGB Box, a confetti threshold, and into a sensory playground, event goers had much to see and do. Almost every installation in the main gallery and the Project Room, where artists Tracey Goodman and Valerie Snobeck displayed their work, involved interactive elements. The RGB Box served as a transition between the Precipice pieces in the front of the gallery and the Postmodem pieces of the main gallery. The booth of whirlwind of confetti conceptually transformed guests from physical to virtual.
Guests were literally greeted by Host, a video sculpture of Mayer made up of an avatar on an iPad attached to a tripod and Roomba "smart" vacuum, as it moved around the gallery blinking and asking folks, "How are you doing?"
Briana Saati Host
"My friend, Brandon Smith, he did the avatar composite of me," Mayer said of the surrogate human version of herself.
Some installations, such as Swing Space, required more physical effort from viewers. While others, such as A Place for Online Dreaming (Sleep Site), required less. Swing Space challenged sensory levels as guests played in virtual clouds and a digitally enhanced sky. Attendees also fell asleep in blankets under the glistening dreamcatcher projections of Sleep Site, which combined physical and virtual elements to represent human dreaming, consciousness, and imagination.
Briana Saati Swing Space
In the Project Room, Goodman and Snobeck's "Out of Place" required the opposite of immersion from guests. instead, they were advised to be aware of their surroundings and watch under their feet, as pieces of chewed gum, dirt, and fallen flowers encompassed the small space. Joanna Kleinberg Romanow, assistant curator at the Drawing Center in New York, asked the two New York artists to create site-specific work based off their impressions of the city and its essence.
Briana Saati Sleep Site
"It's the idea of out of place.... a mixture of domesticity and exteriority, and this sort of domestic and natural environment," Romanow said.