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Ground zero for Big Nothing


I want to say right off the bat that this is going to be one in a series of mini-posts on the Big Nothing at the ICA, sort of follow-ups to Roberta’s post on opening night.

Interestingly enough, my favorite pieces were word-driven. I find this interesting because in terms of nothingness in art, nothing is no image, and these are (sort of) no image pieces.

For good readers only

First my fave, which is upstairs separated from the video corral by its own little, black-curtained room.

“Dakota” (shown), is a film noir digital animation by YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES. It’s a CD-ROM of words flashing in a variety of sizes and shapes at a variety of rhythms, set to a fabulous Art Blakey drum solo. In true film noir fashion, it’s all in black and white, and tells three noir stories, one of kids on the road, one an homage to Blakey, and one set in the seedy, fast-food-noodle-stand world of late-night Seoul, Korea. You can actually view it on line at the link above. Be sure to pump up the volume.

Unlike a lot of art video, this was compelling, its pace a wild pony ride from beginning to end, its stories rich with atmosphere and hip-hop poetry.

For Conceptual Art naysayers

My other fave was by Pope.L, “Truth Painting (Unauthorized Version).” I’ve been listening to complaints about Conceptual Art from a number of people who shall remain nameless (they can always send an email of complaint), but, as in all generalizations, the specific trumps the theory.

The words “I sell the shadow to support the substance” are a quote from Sojourner Truth, barely visible on a white vinyl surface.

The quote gathers spin as filtered through the materials that delivered it–a barely visible white-on-white “painting” of vinyl on PVC plastic and pushpins, 36″ x 36″–very slick looking signage, its truth barely visible, its whiteness a symbol. Besides, “shadow” is such a loaded word, given the way it floats in Pope.L’s new context.

I love the irony of an art show on nothing with highlights of seeming non-imagery (although the imagery is really there, in the presentation of the words and materials of both of these pieces).

I am now going to whine and growl about the fact that I don’t have an image. The ICA-CD contained just a fraction of what was up.