Volume 93, Issue 87
Wednesday, March 15, 2000
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
ArtLab exhibit pauses to ponder technology
By Matt Pearson
Caught in the throes of a society which defines itself by rapid thought, most people do not stop to consider the sounds that surround them. In its latest exhibition, PAUSE Button, the ArtLab in the John Labatt's Visual Arts Centre has gathered a diverse collection of work which reflects on these sounds and their effects on modern life.
The show grips visitors instantly with a giant, Technicolour wall that resembles the colour test pattern screen used when television channels are off the air. A long corridor leads into the ArtLab, in which each piece commands its own individual attention. Long sheets of cellophane hang from the ceiling, adding an intimate feel to the works which dominate the centre of the space.
Different sounds resonating from all parts of the room are instantly noticeable. Although this could be overpowering, it is well-executed, drawing visitors closer to each of the individual sounds in order to investigate further.
A closer look reveals an eclectic collection of "New Media" art. The show incorporates all aspects of modern technology, including videos, projections and computers. It also relies on a solid mix of one-dimensional and two-dimensional pieces which punctuate the space, but refrain from overwhelming viewers.
A series of student-produced videos constantly play at a small viewing area off to the right side. The wide collection of videos are visually stimulating and outside-of-the-box. Like many of the pieces in this exhibit, the videos challenge viewers to think about and question the motivations of their creator.
The range of pieces in the show are indicative of each artists' originality. Julio Lopez's "I Wanna Be Luke Skywalker" is quite clever. It expresses the artist's unique sense of humour and its frame adds to the overall movie poster effect. The sound piece, "the book i speak will write my history (collaboration with myself at age 9)," by Kevin Hampson, was also impressive, with its layered vocals and story.
"Anxiously Awaiting The Reply," by Liz Gillespie, is perhaps one of the exhibit's most thoughtful and intriguing pieces. The sadness and despair of its central figure is so compelling, that one would be hard–pressed not to remember a time in their own life when they felt the same.
Steven deBryn's "Bash Register" is an authentic commentary on modern life that demands consideration. A cash register sits on a table, surrounded by a mountain of blank register tape gathered on the floor. The only typed message is a comment that one could expect to find on a poster hanging in CentreSpot, or in a cafeteria in some Communist state. It's an intelligent piece that makes a pointed observation and invokes thought.
PAUSE Button is an impressive show. It forces viewers to expand their minds and ponder the significance of technological noise in their daily lives. It is definitely worth the pause in one's daily routine to check out this tremendous collection.
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