Recap: The New Normal opening/reception (10-NNDW/W02-3)

It’s a strange twist of fate that I had just written a post related to surveillance on one of my other blogs just two days before this exhibit opened, without even thinking about it. I was already looking forward to this since posting it on the monthly LOVIEE two weeks ago, and I was not disappointed at all.

Rather than give an in-depth accounting of all the exhibits, I’ll pick the three I found most interesting. I did not stick around long enough to look at everything completely, and I will probably return at some point prior to the exhibit closing.

First up: “Once Upon A Time” by Corinna Schnitt, a single-channel video with sound with a running time of 25 minutes. I expect relatively few of the visitors will come to this exhibit expecting humor. In summary: a living room is turned into a zoo, quite literally, and with quite amusing results. And I do mean a zoo: cats, dogs, small birds, all the way up to larger barnyard animals including at least one goat (maybe two) and one cow. I chuckled several times during the 15 minutes or so that I saw; probably not the reaction the artist was going for, I will admit, but I find it hard not to laugh while watching such things as a goat eating houseplants.

Second: “Chic Point” by Sharif Waked, a much shorter video piece (5 minutes, 10 seconds according to the program). This is a spoof of a fashion show where the men show apparel reconfigured for passing through the Israeli border security checkpoints: cropped-out suit jackets exposing the abdomen, part of the breast exposed through a T-shirt, etc. The end of the video shows several disturbing still pictures that served as the inspiration: men forced to expose themselves to Israeli border guards to prove they were not suicide bombers.

Third: “Vice Presidential Downtime Requirements” by Jennifer and Kevin McCoy. This is an installation with store-bought products based on a list leaked to describing Dick Cheney’s requirements as sent to a local hotel. I can describe this all I want, but one actually has to see this, in person, in order to fully appreciate it. It’s only appropriate that an exhibition based on a quote by Vice President Dick Cheney contains a piece which references him and exposes him the same way that the onerous and odious surveillance has exposed the rest of us. The link should give you some idea what to expect.

Every piece in this exhibit is worth looking at; the detailed descriptions of these three alone are not intended to slight the rest of the exhibition in the least. Most notably, there are at least two pieces that make use of a live Internet connection in some form.

For those that missed the opening reception, The New Normal runs through February 20, and the hours of the DiverseWorks Gallery are Wednesday through Saturday, noon to 6pm.