Numerous Beginnings

"The beginning of an unfinished sentence" reads No.47 (2007) by Pavel Buchler, one of many contributions to the ongoing online exhibition Why + Wherefore. The sentence fragment succinctly captures the premise of the show, which explores the tension between an art work's initial conception and completion. Curators Summer Guthery, Lumi Tan, and Nicholas Weist invited a diverse group of artists, practicing both online and off, to submit entries around the process of beginning a piece. With the involvement of over 50 artists, the interpretations of "beginning" vary widely. The website deceptively divides separate areas for "Works" and "Project Beginnings + Proposals", after some navigation, however, it becomes quite clear that the entries could easily translate to either category. Filed as a "Work", multimedia installation artist Assume Vivid Astro Focus submitted a series of long and elaborate to do lists. As a list of unfulfilled, amusing intentions (see: "13. Buy urgent: "The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell" by Aldous Huxley"), the To Do Lists (2007) demonstrate how quickly and powerfully ideas can emerge and then get lost. Artist Colby Bird's Dave and Tim (2007), also filed as a "Work", opens with the typed lyrics of Lil Jon and the Eastside Boys "Neva Eva" and then rotates through an unending loop of found digital images of keg parties, speaker systems, hallways, cats, teenagers, etc. Framed by an nondescript magazine advertisement, Dave and Tim uses the internet's store of visual detritus to present a bleak portrait of American life marked by consumerism. Artist Bard Ask's Global Perspective (2007), filed as a "Proposal", opens dramatically on a satellite image of the earth, and progressively narrows in on the state of Florida. The dramatic score heightens suspense, and the video closely recalls the opening sequence of a doomsday thriller. Florida, as the site for the 2000 Presidential Election recount, can be interpreted as a symbol for the start of the Bush Administration. In naming the work "Global Perspective", Ask wryly alludes to Bush Administration's corrosive effect on global politics. The curators propose to continue changing the exhibit every six to eight weeks, so clearly, this isn't the end. - Ceci Moss

Image: Colby Bird, Dave and Tim, 2007