Acts of Devotion

Written by Jon Reiss on . Posted in Bash Compactor, Posts.


This Friday was to be the
end of my social existence. Spectrograph, an art show that promised to be a deconstruction of sight and sound,
was welcomed by hurricane-like lightning and rain, but that didn’t stop a room
full cyberpunk art aficionados from crowding Devotion Gallery in Williamsburg for the opening last Friday night.
For most, the term “cyberpunk” brings up images of Jolt cola-drinking alterna
teens firing up their 28-baud modems to browse Geocities websites, but
considering Devotion’s edgy, techno-art focus, it seems the most fitting of
labels.

Seeking shelter from the
rain, a small crowd of smoking art appreciators hid under the bubblegum-colored
awning outside Devotion, which advertises “Cristina Unisex Hair and Design.” Upon
entering, I was greeted by a display of tiny neon glow boxes that I initially
mistook for party store decorations. Upon meeting the artist Ted Hayes (aka Tedb0t), I learned that the boxes were indeed
the show itself.

“Our perception of sound
emerges out of lots of building blocks, but we don’t normally perceive it as
that. We don’t normally realize all the components to what we’re hearing.”
Tedb0t, wearing all black and looking like a character from the movie Party
Monster
, proceeded to pick up a glow
box and whistle into it, causing the color of the box to shift with the change
in his pitch. Across the room, a little girl who couldn’t have been older than
5 was gleefully laughing into a box that responded by changing colors, only
serving to feed her laughter. This was by far the most adorable thing I’ve seen
at an art gallery.

Neon-frosted cupcakes were
served, along with white wine and bottles of Pilsner Urquell, which partygoers
chomped and sipped as they discussed everything from art to computer hacking.

On the opposite side of the
gallery, photos by artist Maximus Clarke were bound to the wall, displaying two photo sets of people in 3-D. A
table at the front of the room was covered in 3-D glasses.

“There’s no reason why 3-D
should only be used for giant robots or blue-skinned aliens. 3D, as an artistic
medium, has so much unrealized potential. I mean, it’s a whole other
dimension!” Clarke said.

Clarke’s explanation of the
philosophy behind the photos seemed in line with Tedb0t’s glow boxes: Things are
not always what they seem, and there are many components to what we see and
hear. The subjects of Clarke’s photos ranged from the artist himself to author William
Gibson
and noted lit-blogger (and Clarke’s spouse) Maud
Newton.

“I think there’s a lot of interesting
stuff that’s happening with technology and art and the intersection between
them, and I think it’s great that Devotion has given it a home,” said Newton.

Before the night ended, I
caught up with hacker/gallery owner Phoenix Perry to discuss Devotion. She told me that maintaining a
gallery in the current economic climate is hard, but doable, and that
Williamsburg needed a gallery that dealt specifically with the intersection of
art, science and new media.

“Anything
worth having is worth fighting for,” Perry said. [Jon Reiss]

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