Curatorial Team Torsten Z. Burns, Jennifer and Kevin McCoy
Kari Gatzke, HALFLIFERS, Jennifer and Kevin McCoy, Dawn McDaniel, MTAA (T. Whid and M. River), Mike O'Malley, Cary Peppermint, Michelle Yarnick
October 18 - November 30
In the craze of modern technology, how often to we need to stop and consult the manual? It might be nice to have a manual for life, that we might stop in the midst of decision-making and look up alternative strategies and life-saving information. "The Omega Manual" portends to be literally the last manual you will need. The artworks in this exhibition project alternative futures for the objects that comprise the show and seek to answer questions such as: Which future are we participating in? Which life are we living? Which belief system will we engage today? Will that belief system withstand the future?. The works in this show, although based on low-tech, everyday materials and objects, are transformed through their delivery as art.
Crystalline tables, exploding cakes, shopping-spree assemblage and miniature projectiles,... where is the line drawn between art and the everyday object? The artists in this group show place this line in different places for different reasons. Some explore the edge between the perceived and actual utility of the object, pointing to practicality that doesn't exist or changing the learned response to a common thing. Fictional scenarios can be suggested just by the presence of an artifact, tool, or label. Other artists reinvigorate an object's meaning by changing the materials with which it is constructed. Often, a mass-produced object is slowed down through a meticulous construction process. The show also explores the process of popular craft and construction, the investigation of the "kit", or the idea of self-made technology. These artists' mechanical or pseudo-mechanical objects have the unique potential to be generative, to create themselves over the run of the show. In "The Omega Manual", each artist investigates the practical object as a tool of enlightenment, thoughtful manifestations towards a useful history.
"The Omega Manual" also has implications for the use of technology by and for art. Rather than rejecting militaristic or corporate strategies, these artists work in parallel to these institutions by reverse engineering complex and forbidding structures such as the space program and the rock industry. By attempting the impossible, these projects re-invest metaphor into hidden production processes from command-centers back-stage dressing rooms. They pull the forms out of their native context and at once divest them of their ostensible use and give them new aesthetic utility.
This show will include both emerging and more established artists. It will encompass painting, sculpture, kinetic sculpture, video, and digital media. Opening and closing performance events will also take place. These events would frame the notion that objects live through but also beyond their placement in the art gallery. Original artworks and documentation can exist side by side, creating an interplay between the past of the original and the present time of the document.
The curatorial team, artists who have collaborated in the past, are pulling together their own work with other work that was suggested by six years of conversation about technology, utilitarianism, and science fiction.