—>From the Vault–This excerpt from a post that ran Oct. 10, 2005, revisits a piece of public art in Bird Park, the once-upon-a-time art park at the corner of 3rd and Arch. Gallery Joe was in charge of the space at the time. I don’t think there is an art program in the park now, but correct me if I’m wrong.————–>
Jody Sweitzer and Chris Vecchio‘s “Now that we have your attention” is a motion-sensitive piece: The playpen crew talk at you when you pass by. It’s a cacophonous chorus of “Look at me, look at me. Don’t go. Good bye. Have a nice day. Oh, you’re going.” And the like. There may be more snarky stuff but that’s all I could make out. I thought it was great, with all kinds of references to street side altars to slain children and to the idea of children (and adults — and cities, too for that matter, e.g. NOLA, post-Katrina) abandoned for one reason and another.
Gallery Joe‘s Becky Kerlin told me she did love the piece. And she witnessed children laughing and enjoying it as well. My experience observing passersby was that, like with all public art, some people like it and some don’t. A couple of moms came by and were surprised and couldn’t wait for their trailing kids to catch up and look. When the two little boys (maybe age 7) arrived they seemed underwhelmed. And then a group of adults came by, slowed to a stop, and when one of them said “I don’t get it,” they quickly moved on.
Sweitzer and Vecchio have both made motion-sensitive works that I’ve seen at Nexus. They’ve also both done public interactive works. It’s great to see the collaboration and I think it’s a successful piece. Part of its success is in the decay factor. I’m trying to imagine what the little street urchins will look like a month from now and I think the piece will be quite different and will evoke a kind of disgust — disgust at the dirty toys; disgust with the idea of chirpy little voices coming out of objects that look beaten down and unloved.