Friday, October 23, 2015

Artist Asks: "What could you reclaim from removing your biggest distraction?"

Last night the Tweed Museum of Art held an opening reception for Robert Miniciello's Spontaneous Acts and Sharon Louden's Windows. In the student gallery, always a place of interest to me, Shane Pehrson had a stimulating exhibit titled Reclaim, a clever variation on an idea I once had for a book concept when I was in college called 100 Things To Do with a Television Set. (I dropped one off the Hocking River bridge in Athens as a start.) At the time I saw TVs as a time trap that keep people from other things. And this is Pehrson's premise, except today's time thief is smart phone.

At 25, Pehrson has grown up in this new era of instant communication and the ubiquitous, portable screen interface. He notes in his statement that he got his first flip phone at age 16, but now little children are walking around with $400 smart phones. Instead of human interaction, we see a new generation of people zoned out on their devices, ignoring everything around them.

Inside the small gallery space one encounters animated movies portraying the manner in which smart phones consume time. One is a humorous guy on a toilet, from the point of view of the guy, his smart phone central. Another features a guy walking, oblivious to all around him as he strolls along looking down at the screen in his hand.  On shelves we see smart phones smashed by rocks, spilling their electronic guts.

My concept of smashing televisions gets derided by people who remind me that there is a lot of good stuff on television. I can accept that, and yet I hear defenders of smart phones saying the same thing today to young Shane.

What does your gut tell you? Have you become a slave to your devices? Or as Shane asks, what could you reclaim by removing your biggest distraction?  

Meantime, life goes on all around you. Reclaim it.

1 comment:

Karen said...

Ed - this is a good review of a really nice exhibit. Shane's work is terrific, the premise is simple but provocative and the installation is really satisfying.