Two Fantastic Voyages

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This month, Eyebeam will present the loosely travel-related work of two of their recent Artists in Residence-cum-tourists. The two artists could not have come from more different places, with Joseph DeLappe hailing from Reno, Nevada, and Taeyoon Choi visiting from Seoul, Korea. Both have created performative projects revolving around the interjection of semi-automated foreign characters into social spaces. Choi's Camerautomata Charlie: Image Digesting Robotic Duck is an electro-mechanical bird that quacks its way into touristy public spaces, like New York's Central Park, to take (and defecate-out) snapshots of those it is more or less imitating. The duck's primary ingredients are a hacked digital camera, a printer, and a vacuum cleaner. Needless to say, it comes with its own flock. The Eyebeam show, entitled "Tourists and Travelers," will exhibit digital photos, drawings, and video documentation of the winged wonder in action. On a more serious note, DeLappe's The Salt Satyagraha Online is a Second Life-based re-creation of Ghandi's epic 240-mile salt march, an important act of civil disobedience against the British Government which ultimately drew new international media attention to the Indian independence movement. DeLappe's project entailed his creation of a Ghandi avatar in SL, who took the walk again, automatically propelled by DeLappe's walking of the path in real life, on a treadmill stationed at Eyebeam. Despite its online basis, this live endurance-based re-presentation of Ghandi's protest brings a compelling sense of physical reality to an archived public memory. For the show, DeLappe will present other physical objects, including documentation, artifacts, and new works derived from the project. Most significant among these is a large-scale cardboard replica of Ghandi, designed to be the same height as Michelangelo's Statue of David--a touristic art icon if ever there was one! The exhibition will be up through July 19th. - Marisa Olson

Image: Joseph DeLappe, The Salt Satyagraha Online, 2008