Thursday, March 15, 2007
"Remote Control" at MoCA
Shanghai’s MoCA has a cool “new media” show up right now called “Remote Control.” It includes the work of artists from both within and without Shanghai and China.
The term “new media,” as it pertains to art, refers to an ever-changing approach to the creation of artwork that is usually based on the use of recent technology. “New media” is thus amorphous and tough to categorize or pin down. With regards to “Remote Control,” however, it is fair to say that “new media” means lights, screens, flashing stuff, and a lot of “interactive installation.”
New media shows are, in a way, fundamentally about experimentation; the point is to use new stuff. What is often most interesting, though, about “new media” art is experiencing it in the context of the contemporary art world – seeing how things are changing, what is available. But when a whole bunch of new gear is put together in an art show, the slope becomes slippery and it is easy for it to start to look like just a bunch of new gear – and not Art; the good pieces in the show get lost in the wash of cool tech.
And there are good pieces. One large video installation is an ever expanding video loop, the contents of which is made up of one second video clips that are captured when a museum-goer steps on a specially designed mat. You step on the mat, watch the big screen as a camera in front of the mat captures and relays your image, and then watch as the video continues on with your clip stored for future play. I thought of fame and celebrity and hope and desperation and Youtube.