[-empyre-] Interventions

Ricardo, Angel, and empyreans,

Exploring your project, Ricardo, on a formal level,  I am struck by how you use the conventions of comic book illustration and talking heads (kind of a reversal of Nick at Night's PopUp Videos derived from the Brady Bunch reruns). 


 So that you force into a tight juxtaposition the fact based documentary, the Q and A, with a really direct GUI design that probably runs well on 56k.  I've always loved the apparent artlessness of your online work, its really flat out, no frills, no bullshit interface.  Certainly this interface itself is an expression of the Tijuana Calling theme, because your minimal style is super accessible both artistically and in terms of bandwith; as you write below, 

"The guests gathered this month have concerned themselves with translation and issues surrounding the shrinkage of our world through technology and communication."

And further, this rigorously transparent graphic interface seems to be as flat out a gesture as the sculptural and site specific graphic installations among the mainstream projects at the TJ/SD border--I am reacting especially to The Jewel, where the trashed car is 'gold plated' , ---- not only an homage to Jeff Koons (think "La Ciccolina" ), but more subtlely, like your interface of really basic sort of old school superhero comic book talking faces (the Tijuana dentists as superheroes) , a very basic pop skin or layer (the 'gold' ) -- in order to create an interesting displacement, or maybe you could call it an elision/breakpoint/breakdown so that something can be seen freshly and vividly.  The hidden aspects of economic  exchange that cross the border expose themselves through the interface. In the case of the sculpture, 'The Jewel",  its finale is germane: it will be auctioned off to wealthy Californians after its installation! Rags to Riches.  In "Dentimundo" the frank remarks of the dentist Dr. Felix, for example, expose the desire for personal service for which the Californians are willing to pay and sustain <http://www.dentimundo.com/interviews.php>. And yet your work goes much further in this border crossing, than the sculpture "Jewel".

"Jewel" somehow feels like it still relies on a postcolonial mentality on the part of the audience or, in the end, 'user' (the auction participant); whereas your work rigorously ignores difference. Just intuitively moving along here, but I sense that the interface for "Dentimundo", and the method of communication, assumes nothing about the user/audience, except that they have low bandwith access at least.  There's no  performance gesture at the end of the installation, as with "Jewel", whose end may be viewed in light of its cynical absorption into a staple of contemporary art collecting -- the auction.  In your work, the performance itself is in "Dentimundo": it is itself a site study, and doesnt rely on a gesture beyond itself to succeed as a communication.  In this respect I think" Dentimundo" couldn't be more spot on to the stated intent of InSite, to begin with.  

Maybe, one wonders, the transparency in "Dentimundo", or perhaps we should say, "white! bright! perfect smile!" makes it hard for InSite to know what to do with it.    ( Otherwise, if it didn't, "Dentimundo" , via a really obscure link in a corner of your HTML, could have a sinister function as a Pay Pal enabled site for sales of gold from teeth?? -- a Swiftian modest proposal to be sure!).  You don't want to make out with the audience in a series of Koons-oid moments or photo ops here (as "Jewel" might).  Your works insists on being taken straight up. 

Thoughts, riffs on this?


For inSite05, the organizers decided to include an online component for
the first time - "Tijuana Calling" and invited Mark Tribe as curator. 
Two of this month's empyre guests are participating in the online
exhibition - Angel Nevarez and myself.  Links to Tijuana Calling are at:

The Interventions' artists were given two years and four residencies to
develop their projects along with substantial budgets.  The online
artists were invited onto the exhibition with less than a year before
the opening, were brought to San Diego once for a three day weekend as
an introduction.  Needless to say, it felt as if I had entered the New
Media ghetto - a side show or after-thought for a large-scale exhibition
in which the organizers thought "hmmm, there's this Internet Art thing
going on, perhaps we should include it this time around, it may
eventually be of consequence..."

This seemed apparent at first, however once I began my investigation and
spent time in Tijuana and requested help from the inSite crew, they were
incredibly helpful and even gave me an apartment to stay for a two week
period in Tijuana.  However, this only happened, because I requested
help that they had not thought necessary for online projects.

Exhibitions such as inSite05 are riddled with questions and problems
that have been in discussion for quite a while now - such as what is the
responsibility of artists when invited to a site specific exhibition
that s/he may have no relation to...  This same question may be further
complicated by the use of the Internet as a creative medium when
associated to site specificity and the online translation of culture -
as posed in the introduction for this month's discussion.  The guests
gathered this month have concerned themselves with translation and
issues surrounding the shrinkage of our world through technology and
communication.  inSite05 is merely one instance.
empyre forum


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