Friday, December 28, 2012

Worth remembering:

JOHN POHL (visual arts):

Germany’s Carsten Nicolai and Japanese-born, Paris-based Ryoji Ikeda opened a lot of eyes, mine included, to the mind-bending possibilities of what is known as “new media.”
Nicolai turned sound into graphic patterns in an installation at the Musée d’art contemporain that delved into the neuroscience of human perception. “Much of what we see is manufactured by the brain,” Nicolai said in May. “What is happening between what we think is reality and what is really there?”
Ikeda did something similar in his installation that ran through the summer and fall at DHC/ART. He used mathematics to translate the electronic data that emanates from everything in the universe — from atoms to stars — into sound and graphic imagery.
The work of these two artists stirs the emotions, too. What wondrous realities they imagine and discover. But there are other ways that art stirs the emotions, memory being one of the most powerful. This is what Philippe Parreno, an Algerian who lives in Paris, brought to the DHC in January with his 70mm film of an event that took place on June 8, 1968.
Parreno recreated the journey of the train that carried Robert F. Kennedy’s body from New York to Washington following the New York senator’s assassination after winning a primary that cleared his way to being nominated as the Democrats’ candidate for president.
Kennedy, a symbol of hope for change, had been electrifying the U.S. in a way that Trudeau was then doing in Canada.
Parreno studied news photos of mourners lining the tracks to watch Kennedy’s train pass by. But he made his film from the train’s point of view as it slowly chugs past the motionless mourners.
The cumulative trauma of U.S. political assassinations in the 1960s was on a level with 9/11. And Parreno transmitted this in a film that runs only seven minutes.

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