Friday, March 11, 2005

Online vs. Offline Art: two cases

This was supposed to be only about Bruce Nauman's latest work, Raw Materials, at the Tate Modern (London) until the end of March. The work consists of speakers spread around the huge Turbine Hall. Or rather, it consists of sounds. Words coming out of the speakers. A looped "Thank you" or "OK", a few abstract sentences. Moving around the space, one discovers new combinations, immersed in the depths of sound.
There is also an online version of the work. Or is it just a reference to it, or an entirely independent work?
Is it intriguing? Somewhat. Does it seem Great? Certainly not on the web site. Ay, there's the rub - creating a "parallel" version of a conceptual (can somebody tell me if I am allowed to use the word here?) online is extremely risky. We get the concept, but we don't get to walk across the Turbine Hall. So the whole thing seems intriguing, but not that exciting. It's something like watching performing arts on screen.
Or is it?
As I was looking for reviews and opinions about the exhibition, I found this insightful post about it by Ivar Hagendoorn, a neuro-scientist and choreographer. As I browsed through his site, I found an excellent fragment of a dance of his online. I've seen similar rule-based works before, and I'm not a dance specialist, so I probably miss out on most things, but I discovered it was really watchable online. Although it's just a one-camera one-shot recording of a dance, with all the imperfections of such a technique. (here is a description of the piece, called Communications from the Lab and performed by Ballett Frankfort)
Maybe there's hope for all us technology dummies then?
(Oh, and compare the dance with the image of Nauman's installation. Suffice it to say the photographer of Nauman's installation was the dance's choreographer...)

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