Gone but not forgotten – Video Storefront at Possible Projects

From the outside, Possible Projects, on the corner of Thompson and Norris Streets in Fishtown, appears as a humble, yet handsome two-story brick house. If it looks more like a home than an art gallery, that may be because it’s actually both. Husband and wife owners of the project space – Trevor and Rachel Reese – recently relocated from Brooklyn. They now live upstairs and hold art events in the first floor storefront space.

Possible Projects
The exterior of Possible Projects.

The last exhibition was a multi-week series of short films projected on a wall inside the gallery. Called a Video Storefront, the projections could be seen through the two sizable picture windows located on either side of the space. Best visible after sunset, the moving images provided a location to come see video art from street level, which considering the unseasonably warm weather, was a treat not often available in the middle of March. The surrounding residential neighborhood also benefitted from the gift of free video art. Many neighbors out walking dogs or running errands could catch a glimpse of cinematic works right at the end of their block that they may otherwise never make the effort to see.

Four artists exhibited their video art as part of Possible Projects’ Video Storefront: Nanna Debois Buhl, Anne Eastman, Oliver Laric, and Derek Frech. Of the four works, only one is loosely narrative based, and that is “There is This House” by Nanna Debois Buhl. The film is a study of an abandoned estate on the island of St. Croix. The building exists as a remnant of the former Danish colonial powers on the island and the captions that appear at the bottoms of the frames matter-of-factly tell of the slaves and colonists that once called the island home. Empty rooms and disrepair beautifully illustrate a factual but dismal account of the setting’s origins.

Oliver Laric
One of the 2000 frames of clip art in the video by Olver Laric.

Oliver Laric’s video is considerably more lighthearted than Buhl’s. The idea is simple: display 2000 clip art images back-to-back in rapid succession. As the kitschy portraits flash by, it is difficult to keep up and there is a notable strain on the eyes. All of the clip art images depict diverse people in different activities: including businesspeople, athletes, skeletons, Native Americans and many, many others. They are organized based on their poses and there are usually only one or two figures on the screen at a time. The character then appears to be changing and writhing into a variety of forms. Aside from a visual overload, the video brings to mind the role of clip art in contemporary culture, which seems to be merely a gaudy gag wrapped in the nostalgia of Windows 95.

Derek Frech
Still from”Metamorphosis II: Rock Cycle” by Derek Frech

Change is the name of the game in Derek Frech’s “Metamorphosis II: Rock Cycle.” The title is very telling of the progression of the video. Frech begins his loop with a slab of hewn white marble, cut into neat right angles. From there the stone begins to warp and melts into a pool of orange lava. The lava cools (somewhat true to geology) into a shard of volcanic obsidian, which then shatters and reassembles itself as a rough looking chunk of sandstone or granite. The whole process takes under a minute (not very geologic in its timescale), so it is worth watching multiple times to pick up on all of the details.

Anne Eastman
Still from “Seen From Elsewhere” by Anne Eastman.

Last, but certainly not least, is the stunning abstraction by Anne Eastman. Her video camera hones in on what appear to be spinning mirrors dangling above a carpet of deep red hues and geometric patterns. The shots are rather disorienting, and of the four movies shown in the Video Storefront, “Seen From Elsewhere” takes the longest amount of time to process. It is far from readily apparent what is going on, but once the viewer accepts his/her ignorance, the slow, steady movements are quite relaxing and meditative.

Currently, Possible Projects has set their gallery space back up for a show of minimal works by Eric Veit in a show entitled Ponytail. The show will run through April 15. Hours for visiting Possible Projects are Saturday and Sunday from 12 – 4 PM.