A couple weeks ago (now more like a month), I had the chance of seeing Threshold in the new media gallery at 80 Spadina at it’s opening before a lot of people were there. I’m quite glad I did because based on pictures that people have tweeted, it looked quite hectic at night and a lot less art observing and more drinking. I was lucky enough that Max took us down there again during his class so that we could analyze the art.
Interestingly, he focused more on the relational space between the artworks. I unfortunately made the unwise decision of walking all the way there from Dundas, which made me miss half of his workshop.
When I walked in he was talking about Kathryn’s piece – which involved interactive spinning wheels which resembled and operated like a combination lock, that cycled through the letters from a-z, which the user was to use to form a 5 letter word. After completing a word, a robot female voice would be heard scolding the user for stringing together inappropriate word. However only 3 words, including “peace” and “kitty”, would deactivate the annoying voice.
Max pointed out that being at the center of the room, the piece gave a commanding presence in the room. It demanded constant attention, given that the majority of the participants didn’t know the secret passwords and would set off the nagging robot lady. It was also effective that it was the only piece in the gallery that had any sound ; had there been any other pieces with sound there would of been conflicts.
There was more that was talked about but it’s a lot that was to be considered (had they risen up) when installing multiple pieces of new media art in a single room.