Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Source Gallery- Pecha Kucha- WAH WAH.
I was assigned to go to the Source Gallery for my Art in Translation Class, which I visited prior to the Pecha Kucha event. The gallery was clearly an after thought to the store, and I doubt that most of the shoppers would even veer right on the stairway to enter the space. What I saw was an inconsistent display, featuring photos that represented three subcultures of punk, hip hop, and rave. The atmosphere was a bit too cutesy and seemed to place handicap the actual photographs, thus leaving me with no sentiments of “fear, distrust, anger, or destruction,” which was the point of the show. The crux of the show was Shanghai street fashion, represented by a wall of ordinary people rocking their everyday wear in addition to posed shots of stereotypical youth fashion- Goth, skater, rock star, etc.
The space transformed all together the night of Pech Kucha. The gallery was no longer about displaying art, rather, holding an event that promoted it. The original artwork in the space became obsolete in the presence of the speakers, and as time wore on, the event seemed to be more about socializing than appreciating. I was surprised, however, at the huge crowd the event did draw, especially after leaving the event not loving it or hating it.
For the most part, I was disengaged. I was pleased with how the event was run, the point being to expose a bulk of artists in a limited amount of time. This result, however, was a win/lose situation. Win in terms of the audience, who were able to get a snippet of who they liked and who bored them to death, and a lose situation in terms of the artist, who had to expose themselves and their work in such a limited time frame. Because of this fact, I was surprised that some of the artists did such a poor job in terms of self promotion-with long pauses, little explanation of content, and contradictory statements.
If I were to choose my favorite artist who presented that night, it would have been Andrea Ling. She presented a series of photos displaying her sculptures of body suits. Each series presented a separate story which she alluded to, but rather concentrated on production process than content. Her designs presented responsive extensions of the body, combining high-tech and low-tech materials and structures. For one of her dresses she stressed the use of industrial silk—the finished result appeared to be a dress of shingles- this incorporated artistic structure with high fashion. Her work was aesthetically pleasing, but the downside was her presentation and explanation, which added nothing to her work.
The biggest wah-wah of the night was the ‘musical performance.’ I was pretty psyched when crazy people dressed in animal costumes popped out from behind the screen, but not so enthused when all they did was bounce around and throw their empty pamphlets at us. Honestly, I did not even know what they were promoting. Oh well, thumbs up to wine and beer- and I can’t even remember if that was decent.

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