Rush to more nothing


I was rushing around last week trying to catch up with the big backlog of Big Nothing shows and dashed into the Borowsky gallery to see “Subtle Nothings,” a display of multimedia piecesmany with a sense of humor. (I’m not sure why I was in such a rush. Afterall, we did preview it, and the show will be up until Aug. 15.)

What made this show delight was its surprises. Most of the pieces in some way gave a little charge of delight when you discovered what it did, and the discovery often involved some action on your part.

I had to lift the lid of Meredith Monk’s “Singing Suitcase,” a blank white old-fashioned thing that looked less than promising sitting on its blank white pedestal. But when I got over my art world don’t-touch-it phobia and lifted the lid (okay, that’s a lie, I sneak illicit feels of art works all the time), it suddenly released a full-throated lullaby that made me pause and listen.

And Chris Vecchio’s “Sparkly Cube” was a way better (way more surprising and way more high tech) than my Slinky and 8-Ball Fortune Teller combined. I picked it up and it was practically alive. You’ll see.

I was also stunned by Antenna’s (Masamichi Udagawa and Sigi Moeslinger’s) bubble machine. I blew through the wand, as instructed, and a flurry of images appeared in front of my own reflection. This image doesn’t quite cut it, either for the magical spray or for my face.

The show also included David McQueen’s mechanized bird chorus line (shown), Ray Rapp’s video sculptures (one of them, “acro S” shown at top, in which the acrobats leap across the video voids, from screen to screen), and Liz Phillips’ interactive noise machine.

I think my favorite was Andy Holtin’s dumb simple “Circle Time Machine,” in which a marker writes in circles, followed by a wipe cloth which erases the marking as it goes, and so we all vaporize, with our words, our art work and drawings, whatever mark we leave upon the world during our daily circlings.


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