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RAW

Smack Mellon Studios. through Apr 6 (see Elsewhere)

"The world we see is in the process of passing." wrote Paul of Tarsus; a Pharisee and contemporary of Jesus. Paul never had to contend with mobile phones, digital video or streaming media, yet even in the 1st century A.D., his encounter with the world evidently had become a blur of information and transition.

The 11 artists assembled by independent curator Denise Carvalho in "Raw" seem equally occupied by the press of time. Although the show's premise is vague (to examine the "unpolished...quality of art depicting the incidental, sometimes auspicious, sometimes chaotic occurrences and observations of everyday life," as Carvalho writes in her curatorial statement), many of the works' individual strengths combine to offer a compelling reflection on the loss of immediacy at the hands of a rapidly proliferating technology. 

Standouts include neuroTransmitter's Landscape and Oscillations, which broadcasts sputtering music and talk radio over two bargain-rate radios hung unobtrusively from the gailerys balcony railing; The antenna that creates the local shortwave network is a metal wire pinned to the wall in the shape of a satellite dish; which points up toward the ceiling; This impoverished shadow of communications technology does transmit, but in such a rudimentary way as to mock the object's global pretensions. Jenny Marketou, an artist who has long worked with issues of surveillance; contributes a video taken from a spy camera mounted on a birthday balloon that wasparaded around Grand Central Terminal at the end of a 30-foot tether. 

The skips and discolorations of the resulting tape reflect the artist's deliberately low-tech approach to video. While such surveillance techniques were invented as a means of asserting authority. Marketou's canny subversion lets chaos trump control.

--Noah Chasin 

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