Monday, September 29, 2008

a few videos of a few art works - michael kontopoulos

How did we manage before people could post videos online? They are a great way to see all kinds of things that would otherwise be relegated to still imagery and the written word. Michael Kontopoulos has posted some videos of his art works online. The Machines That almost Fall Over (2008), like the other works he has documented online, exhibit a "cute" sense of the absurd that only works when you see it. A video is not as good as being there but in this instance its all I have to go on, so I'll make do. He gets the balance just right... pun intended. The sculptures are kinetic and composition-generating and in this respect the piece is reminiscent of Ligeti's Poeme Symphonique for 100 Metronomes (1962) as it winds down (also available online). The sense of anticipation the machines create is a significant component of the work, perhaps my favourite aspect of the piece. One has this same experience wondering if Ligeti's metronomes will finally strike their last tock.

Kontopoulos' Inner Forests is "fair" as an A-Life styled work, although I'd not rate it highly on innovation. I think it lacks the charm of his mechanical constructions and fits the mould for me of a typical art-tech piece. Its a bit high on "toy" and a bit low on "elegance". Boy I can be hard on people. Having said that, I can't help myself, his work Pass the Funk amuses me. It is so overtly tacky and reminds me of a Sesame Street segment but I can't help finding it fun. Breaking the TV illusion in this way is disarming. Oh dear. The fact that it appears on a Japanese TV show makes it even more ridiculous.

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