Aside from a handful of inspiring performances and clever video installations, Le Flash felt a lot like a normal, though well-attended Fourth Friday in Castleberry Hill. Of course—and I can’t emphasize this enough—the weather was just short of miserable, which to the organizers’ credit, is a risk that comes with any outdoor event. What was essentially an Art Stroll+1 could have been an Art Stroll+2 or 3 without the rain.
Garage Projects’ various One Minute/One Night installations were a pleasant surprise. Each video was extremely brief, but due to the variety and strategic coordination both inside and out of the venue’s normal exhibition area, the set became one of my favorites by the end of the night.
I didn’t realize at the time, but this was also a Garage Projects installation. The aquatic “window girl” was a brilliant move, visually activating the building’s second floor and lending the block a bit of New Orleans ambiance. Garage Projects also showcased other video projects at the restaurant SLICE. This is a good trend; I want to see more art in Atlanta bars, or at least an alternative to non-stop sports coverage.
I hate to say it, but the Le Flash signature piece by Kristina Solomoukha was a little over-hyped. If you were expecting it to be something more than a truck in an inflatable pool with a fountain mounted in the back, you had your heart in the wrong place.
The project intends to incorporate nearby public spaces like Cleopas Johnson Park that are usually ignored, which it accomplished to a degree. Solomoukha, a visiting French artist, must have been surprised by our gas guzzling, highway dependent excess; the work is in part a statement about transportation and public life in Atlanta. While the piece does achieve a kind of planned absurdity, I’d rather not pretend it says anything substantially political. Still, you have to admire Solomoukha’s bravery.
Image taken from The Life Pursuit, the art blog of San Smith.
If I could pick a signature piece by local artists, I’d probably consider the Fiat Lux installation by Jason Butcher, Scott Carter, and Mario Schambon. Photos really don’t do justice to the three-dimensionality of these lights. They snake through the loft space like the ribs and spine of a prehistoric shark. I hope it wasn’t ignored, since it was also “off the beaten path” but didn’t have the aid of searchlights to mark its location.
The Multitask Walker by Johana Moscoso. What the hell? The wheels are provided by two baby strollers attached to a makeshift desk covered with media: books, a cup of coffee, a laptop, phone, speakers, etc. The artist allowed me to take a test drive. The carriage wheels are wobbly, which compounds the vertigo of being surrounded by distractions. (Moscoso has other strange inventions like her Mary Kay armor for riding MARTA.)
1-800-DIWALI by Avantika Bawa, Caroline Powers, and Pallavi Govindnathan. The premise complicates the stereotype of “India = IT call centers” by casting you as a mock “cold caller.” Suddenly you have a receiver in hand, where a person on the other end explains Diwali, the Indian festival of lights, describing their personal experiences before, quite genuinely, wishing you a good night. Plus the volunteers had the good sense to bring a tent and treats for attracting curious foot traffic.
I couldn’t attribute an artist to this piece. The projections basically simulate windows in motion, as though the SUV was driving on a clear day.
A video projection by Mark Leibert. The visuals do have an explanation, but I really don’t see how these primitive graphics have anything to do with the history of design, engineering, and landscaping. Apparently, volunteers used the machine to play video games later in the night. What?
And of course there was art inside the galleries. Although not necessarily a part of Le Flash, I liked this piece by David E. Peterson in Krause Gallery. It’s a painting on wood, modeled after a battery for a Mac. The humor is nice, but I also appreciate the attention to everyday designs we take for granted.
Works by Matt Odom are also aided by humor, since working without caution in the pinup genre invites all sorts of nasty, “sexist” criticism.
Art House Co-op, though, threw perhaps the most interesting gallery show of the evening. These vintage gadgets are part of Jason Kofke’s Everything Will Be OK.
Also at Art House: Ted Ulrich ‘s The Wall, an interactive projection that displays camera phone pictures sent by gallery attendees. The video updates live, displaying new submissions on a timer. The image on the right is actually a cellphone shot of the projection itself, capturing redundant cellphone shots inside.
…and back to Adrian Barzaga’s ice sculpture.
I was disappointed overall, due to the weather and due to admittedly overinflated expectations. A list of nearly 50 participating artists doesn’t necessarily guarantee quality, nor does it guarantee good conditions or a seamless coordination of events.