October 11, 2002

Video Games and Other Fixations 
Technology addiction takes control of The Project.

By HOLLY MYERS, Special to The Times

The Project
962-B East 4th St., L.A., (213) 620-0743, through
Nov. 16. Closed Sundays through Tuesdays.

"The Same Thing We Do Every Night," an exhibition playfully devoted to the theme of "technology addiction," features seven
artists who've no doubt spent more than a few late-night hours bathed in the blue glow of computer monitors.

Their work, much of it rooted in the aesthetic and thematic principles of the video game, cultivates a user-friendly atmosphere
in the Project gallery, which makes the exhibition a thoroughly enjoyable experience

Yucef Merhi's "Atari Poetry" series--in which the artist has reprogrammed old Atari game consoles to produce crudely pixilated
fragments of poetic text ("As a dog I look for the bones of my body to bury them again in me," for example)--will surely incite the
nostalgia of old-school technophiles.

Janine Cirincione and Michael Ferraro's "The Bloviator"--a complicated installation of small screens, shelves, wires, jars, speakers and mysterious colored liquids--evokes another sci-fi messiah: a round-headed, slit-eyed little creature who preaches a bizarre blend of physics, philosophy and grammar from a submerged video screen to a small crowd of identical plastic figures. 

Andy Alexander's small inkjet prints, most stashed in out-of-the way locations throughout the room, are clean, futuristic images that lend an element of cryptic science fiction. 

Gabriel Fowle's video piece "Revelation I," which dubs an old "Transformers" cartoon with a passage of text from the Bible ("I am the alpha and the omega," one towering machine growls to his followers), is bare-bones simple but startlingly effective in both its humor and its menace.  

For the more up-to-date, there's James Bruckhouse's "Tap," a very charming program for individual personal digital assistants (available for download on the Internet) that features the animated figure of a tap dancer. (The piece, which was included in the 2002 Whitney Biennial, appears here on a sample personal digital assistant, alongside two preparatory sketches.)

Jason Salavon's "Golem" is, like "Tap," a product of programming: a digital archive of 100,000 abstract "paintings," which the viewer can scroll through on a computer screen and which are also projected on a nearby wall. Though these are hardly great paintings by traditional standards, there's something soothing about their quantity, their availability. "Why paint when you can
program painting?" Salavon seems to be asking. For a moment or two, it sounds like a reasonable question.