Every year Sundance takes over the lower level of the Main Street Mall in Park City for New Frontiers on Main. Usually it's just a collection of vendors showing off the latest in film-making gadgetry, or a place to check your e-mail. This year, Sundance stepped it up a notch with an intriguing array of installations by some respected names in the art world. This is art worth the trip to Park City and stuff you'll have a hard time finding again in Utah anytime soon. Let me mention a few of my favorites.
At the top of my list is a video installation by Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist called Lobe of Lung (The Saliva Ooze Away to the Underground), 2009-2010. Rist recently had a critically acclaimed installation at MoMA. This work of precisely projected videos surrounds viewers with trippy, trance-inducing images of flowery fields and watery worlds. And the body-length floor cushions are the perfect way to take a plush break from the craziness of Sundance. Here are a few photos of people enjoying the show.
The End (2008) from Iceland's Ragnar Kjartansson is a folksy concert shot in five locations in the Canadian Rockies. All five "tracks" are shown simultaneously on five large screens, creating a wondrous musical/visual experience. And it felt perfectly at home in Park City, Utah.
Tracey Snelling's Bordertown (2006-2009) is a Mexican/American tale writ small. Miniature scenes created in three dimensions feature video windows that tell stories and remind us of our intertwined lives. Here's a photo of one of the miniatures.
Cloud Mirror (2009) by Eric Gradman is a social media experiment that puts the viewer in the art. Viewers wear special badges and when they step in front of large screens, their images appear with witty captions. The system also connects to participants' Facebook pages, borrowing and returning information and images. Here I am in the Cloud Mirror. It appears something has gone horribly wrong.
Petko Dourmana's Post Global Warming Survivat Kit (2008) is like nothing I've ever experienced. When you step into the work it is completely, blindingly cark. You can't see a damn thing. Until you lift the night-vision devices to your eyes. Suddenly there's a new world including a tent with post global-warming remnants inside. And there's also an amazing video installation that you just can't believe completely disappears when you stop looking through the binoculars. It's disturbing the way art should be. But it's also just a whole lotta fun.
Thanks Sundance for bringing great movies, and great art to Utah.