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Act/React: Gallery Visit

This exhibition was truly one of a kind. A group comprised of Daniel Rozin, Janet Cardiff, Scott Snibbe, Camille Utterback, Liz Phillips, and Brian Knep created an interactive, digital installation unique to the Milwaukee Art Museum and its viewers, including myself. There were a myriad of different medias used to comprise this entire exhibit as each piece brought its own special aspect to the table. It was arranged so that each artist’s pieces would be fairly secluded allowing it to be interacted with without the curiosity and distraction of the other pieces

The first two pieces are by Scott Snibbe. On the floor was a huge screen and when walked on lines would form in and close in on the viewer/participant. Straight ahead was the piece, Deep Walls, where the individual would walk past the wall and their movement would be recorded in an a separate box on the wall in silhouette form. The motion would be repetitively displayed until all the boxes were filled and it would be bumped out.

The next exhibit was in a small room called, Echo Evolution, by Liz Phillips. She invented systems that create an interactive and multi-dimensional sound-landscape. The more body mass the system detects, the brighter the neon lights get and the louder the music in the speakers get.

Right outside the room was a 30x20ft interactive floor piece called, Healing Pool, created by Brian Knep. In this piece the “viewer? walks on the floor of a computerized orange and yellow lava-like substance. As the person walks, the lava parts and leaves a path that slowly oozes back together.

Janet Cardiff’s piece, To Touch, was in another small, dark lit room. A battered, wooden picnic table took presence in the middle. The idea is that once the table is touched a story would be spoken via speakers hidden somewhere on the wall.

The piece that stuck out to me the most was Daniel Rozin’s Snow Mirror. There is a huge screen of transparent fabric hanging in the middle of the room with a video camera underneath it. Rozin’s piece is a “metaphorical mirror? that explores the nature of new media – in some pieces junk, chrome spheres or the static of television become the pixels of a video camera image. When the viewer stands still, these pixels fall as snow does onto the fabric and creates the reflection of the viewer, hence the name Snow Mirror.

Camille Utterback’s three pieces all explore human interaction in an artistic environment. There are three big screens on the wall and as the viewer moves about, they “paint? the screen. These pieces react to human motion creating unique innovative pieces within a piece.

The main theme throughout these works somewhat differs between the pieces, however; it is clear that the title of the exhibition: Act/React, implies a significant statement. The world is an interactive place, and just as physics suggests; every action causes a reaction. Art typically is just a painting, drawing or sculpture (and obviously more) that we look at and at its best changes us, the viewer. In this exhibit, the viewer is in charge of what the reaction is and his or her interaction with the piece causes the change. This mirrors how in real life everyone needs to be responsible for his or her own actions. We are in charge of everything, whether it be our lives, our actions, the environment or a situation. This exhibit engages this idea in a lively, interactive way, making a fairly subtle yet significant statement.

I would not only tell a friend about this exhibition, I would encourage a friend to come with me and partake in this unique, interactive experience. Though I have been there before, it is different and just as thrilling every time you go. Not only is it enjoyable to interact with the art, it is also interesting to see everyone else’s interpretations. Being able to create work as the viewer is a one-of-a-kind experience that people need to take advantage of.