Dark Spaces at SMMOA

February 20th, 2006 · No Comments · Los Angeles, Writing

Detail of video projection.

Exhibition overview diagram.
Dark Spaces, Santa Monica Museum of Art [image sources]

A large clear plastic octopus in the middle of Santa Monica Museum of Art houses eight projectors in each of eight arms that each show simultaneous video/photo/sculpture/architectural works. Touch-screen Kiosks in the octopus’s base invite guests to look for more information, although sometimes it takes a while to find it.

It would take a viewer many different visits to experience the dozens and dozens of projects included. Therein lies my critique, since I’ll probably never get a chance to return to this ambitious exhibition. Computers should have been included–similar to the Orange Lounge (OCMA’s video art gallery)–to allow visitors to skip through each of the [frequently time-based] works. I would have loved to see the Wim Wenders film and Acconci’s architectural model but didn’t have the hours to wait.

That said, this exhibition exceeded my expectations. Viewing videos in museums and galleries is a negotiation at best. Dark Spaces provides an elegant solution to this complex issue. Walking into the crafted space was a delight. Simultaneously experiencing 8 [mostly] video works and soundscapes somehow was not as insensitive as one might fear. Interface snobbery and science fiction jokes aside, this is a show not to miss.

Category: Los Angeles · Writing

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