synthetic zero

September 12th, 2009

Flew into Portland to see the Time-Based Art Festival; working from my hotel room during the day, seeing performances at night. In general I’ve been impressed with the quality of work I’ve seen during my short stay here; some highlights included the remarkable Winnipeg artist Daniel Barrow’s animated piece Everytime I See Your Picture I Cry, in which Barrow manipulates transparencies on an overhead projector while narrating it live, my friend Melody Owen’s wonderfully curated short film series, circles and spinning wheels & if i could crowd all my souls into that mountain (check it out today or tomorrow if you’re in Portland), Ma Qiusha’s short films, one of which was in Melody Owen’s shows, and one which was on view at the The Works, a converted, formerly closed, high school (Washington High School), Stephen Slappe’s installation We Are Legion, Daniel Barrow’s second piece at the TBA, Winnipeg Babysitter, an amazing collection of hilarious, creative, and surprisingly well produced video segments from Winnipeg’s long lost public access cable golden age, I also liked Ireland-based Pan Pan Theatre’s The Crumb Trail, “The Original YouTube Cover Band” Rush N Disco, and HEALTH, an intense LA-based noise/post-punk band, followed by the great Denver-based DJ, Pictureplane. Very few really low spots; probably the thing I least liked was the Portland-based Oregon Painting Society, which had its moments but was rather uneven. Meanwhile, also had a chance to hang out with my friends Nora Robertson, Caroline Paquette, Tiffany Lee Brown, Evonne and Howard from the Tao of Tea days, and Susan Ploetz aka Pashly. Portland’s got a deep well of local talent as well as some really impressive curating; what I’ve seen here is far better than most of the shows I see in New York, including those curated by the Whitney and PS1.

I’ve had a lot of fun on this trip (courtesy the JetBlue All-You-Can-Jet Pass, a promotion which I hope they repeat next year.)

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