Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Artist Lecture - Mark Tribe

Mark Tribe is a digital media artist and curator with interests art, technology, and politics. He teaches at Brown University as an assistant professor of  Modern Culture and Media.
In his lecture, he shared his view of humans being a performance species; this idea carries over into his art, where he enjoys performance and interactive pieces. His first project that he detailed was Car Park, where he engaged incoming cars into a California parking lot to park in order by color. The media made a small spectacle about the event; the aerial footage made this project more appealing, knowing that so many cars participated. Though not everyone followed the rules and some just parked where ever, it was cool knowing that many participated because of the fun [and easy] guidelines, showing that people will involve themselves in a little bit of creativity to break up the monotony of something simple, like parking a car.

Mark focused on manipulating space and recreating history in his other pieces that he shared. They focused back on his main idea that everything that humans do is a performance. Politics and media-covered events are certainly not exempt from that. The first project was a compilation of speeches from famous historical protesters that were recreated by artists in the same spot that they were first delivered. The energy and idea that Tribe took away from this project helped him compile the Dystopia Files in 2010. This project was made up of video footage of protesters within a partially-visible room. Once the viewer's curiousity was peeked and they went inside the room, the footage stopped, and the audience explored file cabinets with names of different protest groups on each, but they were all locked, so no further learning could be done within the exhibit. The connection I made with that was the secrecy of uprisings in the US. If you werent right there with the action, you seldomly heard about it, because the government tries to regain control and snuff out memory of your actions are quickly as possible. It's only through archival footage kept in the right hands and contemporary home footage of protests that we know as much as we do about these events. 

Tribe's work was conceptually engaging, but I felt like some aspects of each work fell through by varying degrees. I was more interested in his works that engaged historical material or were influenced by history, rather than the Car Park project, which left me thinking "so what?" His others works felt more important.

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