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Detroit Institute of Arts hosts five Artists for Midtown’s Extraordinary DLECTRICITY Festival: Tokyo-based artist Tabaimo, shadow-puppet performances, robots part of electrifying art

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

(Detroit)—From 7 p.m. to midnight on Friday, October 5, and 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Saturday, October 6, Midtown Detroit will be enveloped in a sea of light as artists “light up” buildings and city spaces as part of the DLECTRICITY festival sponsored by Midtown Detroit, Inc. and Art Detroit Now. More than 35 projects using various mediums meld sci-fi technology with Victorian spectacle on a grand scale. The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) will host five installations both outside and inside the museum. DLECTRICITY is free.

 

In an attempt to bring contemporary art to the masses, DLECTRICITY aspires to engage a broad and diverse audience, create a sense of community and be a place for stimulation and discussion about the impact of art on public spaces. The city landscape will be transformed into temporary exhibitions, inviting the public to rediscover these spaces and see them in a new light.

 

“This will certainly be a weekend to remember, and we’re delighted to be part of a collaboration with so many other Midtown venues,” said Graham W. J. Beal, DIA director. “People will be surprised and amazed at the variety of offerings and the cutting-edge technology and creativity of the artists involved. The sheer beauty and spectacle of light-based art is something I encourage everyone to experience.”

 

Here are the DIA’s offerings:

dolefullhouse, a video installation by Tabaimo – rear entrance of the DIA off John R Street

This video installation features the bright interior of an empty dollhouse that undergoes a surreal transformation. Disembodied hands arrange bourgeois furnishings, piece by piece, until each room appears conventionally domestic. Yet all is not as it seems: as the intimate spaces of the home are made comfortable and orderly, the walls begin to pulsate under the pressure of a grim, unseen force lurking beneath the surface. The hands begin to frantically scratch themselves and then at the walls of house, exposing something wildly organic and bizarre. The film concludes as a leak grows into a disastrous flood and water bursts through the façade washing everything away so that the whole process may begin again

 

Visions (rainbow rose), a video installation by Marte Eknaes – south lawn                                This video is of a rose that has been injected with dye in such a way that each petal has a different color. The artist encountered this artificially enhanced rose for the first time at Eastern Market in Detroit. Her attraction to this object is its artificiality, which is simultaneously beautiful and tasteless. It combines two of the stereotypically most admired natural phenomena: a rose and a rainbow. The result is alluring and strange, embodying both the natural and the artificial.

Visions (rainbow rose) is a further ambivalent enhancement of this flower, keeping it alive by suspending it in virtual space. The video was made using the image-uploading program Photosynth, which connects images based on visual recognition to compose basic digital 3d reconstructions of objects. The navigation through the images of the rose connected and layered in Photosynth will be recorded in continuous screen shots to create a video.

I See You by Apetechnology: Chip Flynn, Leith Campbell, Brad Ballard – Woodward plaza

Two robots will become mobile 360-degree rear projection screens that will be remotely controlled to interact with the audience. The projections will be a montage of videos focusing on the idea of voyeurism and surveillance, implying the robots are watching the audience. These "seeing robots" will interrupt the passivity of watching as they move into the audience, slowly rolling through groups of people, and sometimes following them in an observational, almost insistent manner. Projected "eyes" on cylindrical screens will be able to quickly spin around to focus on anyone who sneaks up behind or tries to quietly pass unnoticed. Through speakers on the robot, the artist will broadcast both prerecorded and live improvised sound effects, making electronically affected vocal commentary of real-time observations. 

The overall effect will be to surround the audience with an exaggerated form of surveillance that makes them question whether they are watching or being watched. The desired outcome is that I See You induces the audience to rethink their passive relationship to the technologies they use for work or distraction, and that it may not be the content of the media they consume that has the most profound effect on them but instead their relationship to the machine.

 

StereoNegative –A tribute to Tony Smith by Tsz Yan Ng with Helena Kang and Justin Kollar – northwest lawn

StereoNegative exposes the wonder of geometrically constructed architectural spaces and the role perspectival vision has in our engagement of the world. Isolating the negative space of Gracehoper, the sculptural/architectural volumes are extracted and made into a pavilion on the lawn. This aluminum pavilion will be clothed in a sheer fabric and up-lit in LED colored lighting. To bring the negative space of the pavilion into dialogue with Gracehoper, a stereoscope is placed between the two structures. The viewer, upon encountering the mirrored acrylic stereoscope, can see the two structures collapse in the viewing device with the positive meeting the negative. Small tetrahedrons, octahedrons, and combinations of these geometric solids will be scattered on the lawn for people to sit on, lean against and play with.

 

Mama Three Eyes (Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 10 p.m.) and Yaga Baba (Saturday at 8 p.m.) by Tom Carey – Prentis Court

Mama Three Eyes is a shadow-puppet play that explores the myths and legend surrounding the mysterious, monstrous, yet motherly Hindu goddess Kali. She rescued the world from a band of mischievous demons at the dawn of time. When a flying saucer full of aliens touches down in Detroit on December 12, 2012, will she be our savior again?

 

Yaga Baba is a shadow-puppet performance based on the Russian fairy tale by the same name. It is the story of Suzy, who wants to babysit her little brother Michael all by herself, but her mom says she is too young. When her mom unexpectedly has to go into work one Saturday, Suzy gets her wish. Everything is going fine until Michael wanders off on his own. Is Suzy brave enough to go get him from Miss Yaga’s creepy front porch?

For a full schedule of DLECTRICITY events visit www.dlectricity.com.

 

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The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), one of the premier art museums in the United States, is home to more than 60,000 works that comprise a multicultural survey of human creativity from ancient times through the 21st century. From the first Van Gogh painting to enter a U.S. museum (Self-Portrait, 1887), to Diego Rivera's world-renowned Detroit Industry murals (1932–33), the DIA's collection is known for its quality, range, and depth. The DIA’s mission is to create opportunities for all visitors to find personal meaning in art.

Programs are made possible with support from the City of Detroit and residents of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.