Volume 94, Issue 93

Friday, March 16, 2001


Hand sex and videotape - Digipop explores techno art

Scanner wants you to open your mind

2 St. Thomas and back

Wes Borland goes to Oz

Hand sex and videotape - Digipop explores techno art

Christine Bryant/Gazette

By Dale Wyatt
Gazette Staff

Currently at the John Labatt Visual Art Centre, the media festival Digipop is showcasing many of Western's talented visual artists, sharing an alternate view of the impact of technology on contemporary society.

In a sense, all art is interactive in that it provokes free and creative thought. Digipop, however, goes the extra mile to set itself apart from a typical art show; in many cases, exhibit viewers should expect to become part of the show.

The extensive use of different media allows viewers to watch, speculate and even immerse themselves in the actual artwork. The use of computers, movies and sound works well to further transcend the artists' meanings.

The overall theme of technology's impact on both popular culture and the individual is extremely relevant and evident. Furthermore, the application of popular media to demonstrate the theme is also effective.

With all art shows, the works on display are always subject to personal, preconceived notions of what art is and what it entails. Digipop is no exception. Works range from mind-boggling, amazing and captivating to just plain boring. This can also be attributed to the large number of artists involved.

One aspect that is unique to artwork is the extent to which there is no set meaning behind any piece. In particular, this can be seen in "Just Shapes," a video by M. Brown and M. Kuchma. It is composed of a television screen, divided in half horizontally, each with small floating shapes. There are blue rectangles, pink triangles and circles that come together to form male and female reproductive body parts respectively.

The creators of "Just Shapes" cease the movement of the objects every so often – just in time to cover the sexual body parts of pornographic images. This delightful work reduces "obscene" images to mere common shapes accompanied by pleasant, calming music.

Other more abstract pieces, include Nicole Milette's "Time-Lines." It is composed of stacked cans that differ in size and are all labelled with a phrase, such as "His fear is often mistaken for shyness."

Most of the videos, which are a large part of the exhibition, range from two to five minutes in length. It is important to take the time to view the videos, as they greatly add to the exhibit's overall impact. The constant sounds also add to the congested atmosphere, further demonstrating the show's theme.

Perhaps the most humorous work is a Quicktime video by J.P. Cloutier and Erin Askew entitled "Hand Job." The four minute movie shows a male and female hand participating in hand sex. The various positions and final climax make this work hilarious and quite unique.

A show of this calibre should not be missed. Although it's not life-altering, there is something for everyone to enjoy. The variety of pieces work together to create a truly fun and inviting atmosphere, while encouraging one to take notice of technology's impact on society.

Digipop is open for viewing from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the John Labatt Visual Art Centre until Mar. 23. Admission is free.

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Copyright The Gazette 2000