January 1, 2008

tectonic industries

Tectonic industries: The desire to stay versus the inevitability of change, 2008
Helen Stringfellow, Lars Jerlach, cinematography by Evan Drolet Cook
Franklin Art Works

16 monitors, 8 on the right face 8 on the left, all playing different scenes. Most have one person sitting on a couch or kitchen table. They could be watching television or maybe sitting across from someone else. One woman sitting at the kitchen table is reading a book.

When I walked in I was the only one in the gallery so I walked passed each one and stood in the center. At first I thought each monitor represented separate individual scenes, but as I listened to the people on the monitors speak, I realized that it was actually a dialogue/conversation. The lady on the first monitor on the right kept nagging, “finish your lunch?, “finish your drink?, and the man on the fourth monitor kept responding to her in a annoyed manner. Most of the phrases spoken by them were about “seagulls? and “birds?.

I felt like watching a performance in an inverted theatre-in-the-round. Instead of having the stage in the center with audience seated all around, I felt like I, the audience member was in the center, surrounded by the “players? in each monitor. I could never tell who was going to speak up next, so I kept walking back and forth from one monitor to another. My favorite monitors were the ones that included pets. There was a guy drinking beer on the couch with two big dogs sharing the couch with him. And my favorite moment was when the black and white dog tried to get his beer! Haha… then there were cute cats in couple of them too. One cat sat on an empty couch with its back turned, completely oblivious of the camera.

After reading the provided information, I find out that this video installation is a full 119 minutes in length. I’m not sure where it begins and ends or if it just keeps going and going. I also learned that this work is about the Alfred Hitchcock movie, “The Birds?. I’ve seen that movie a long time ago, as a kid, but, without being told, I would not have figured out that the “birds? being talked about was from that movie.

I enjoyed this installation on a real simple level of just watching people in their homes spending time on the couch. It made me feel like a voyeur, as if I was watching security surveillance tapes. But any deeper interpretation in regards to the title of the work is way beyond my comprehension I’m afraid. I’m starting to feel that maybe I have a very lazy mind regarding certain types of artwork that requires me to thin :P