Friday, May 30, 2014

Black Box: Oliver Laric

Where: Hirshhorn Museum

When: through October 5, 2014

As much as I don't care for the Hirshhorn generally, I do enjoy their video offerings.  This is the latest in their Black Box series; the room where those play is on the lower level of the building.  They're weird, but they're thought-provoking.

This video is entitled Versions and deals with the fact that technology allows us to alter works of art.  How do you know when you're seeing "the original" and when you're looking at a copy that's been Photoshopped or otherwise changed?  Answer: you may not be able to tell.  What does this mean for the concept of authenticity?  How do we know what is real and what is a re-mix?  Are the re-mixes art?  Working in a law firm, I can't help but ask: are they legal?  As the wall notes tell us, there is a "constant need to interpret visual information today."  Seeing is no longer believing.

A procedural note:  the room has two screens and mid-way through the video, it moves from one screen to another.  That means if you're sitting down, you'll have to swivel around to keep watching the show.  I believe the idea is to put the audience in the middle of the show, but I'm not sure that really works.  I fear that people are losing out on some of the show by adjusting themselves to the new orientation.  Now that I read that sentence over, it occurs to me that this might be the point.  Are we losing out on art by having to adjust to the new realities of altered works?  You see what I mean when I say these videos are thought-provoking.  They really cry out for a group viewing and discussion afterwards.

Verdict: Worth every second of the 15 minutes it will take you to watch this in its entirety.  Perhaps you'll come up with answers to my many questions?

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