Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Because It's Art, I Guess

So I was down at the Seattle Convention Center one day, earlier this year, and I encountered an art installation that was composed of a number of small LED boards, spread out over a couple of walls, across which words would scroll.

Some examples:

Words tend to be inadequate
Private property created crime
Automation is deadly
Torture is barbaric
Most people are not fit to rule themselves
It's better to study the living fact than analyze history
When something terrible happens, people wake up
Believing in rebirth is the same as admitting defect
The phrases scrolled across the screens in a seemingly random pattern. Sometime, all of the screens would display the same passage, while other times, each screen carried its own message. Sometimes they simply rolled along, while other times they flashed brightly. They were attention grabbing, but this didn't rescue them from being, at heart, banal, trivial, pseudo anarcho-socialist platitudes masquerading as profound commentary on modern Western society and some of its more visible institutions.

What makes it all the worse is that I think that it is possible to make short, profound statements.
Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand.
Mark Twain
Okay, so profound is overdoing it. But it's thought provoking and intelligently worded, while still being short enough to be a Tweet. And it's not overtly critical, just somehow off or based on dubious logic.

P.S.: This is in the Guggenheim? Really?

P.P.S.: "[...] a new height of subversive social engagement"? You've got to be kidding me. (Or, maybe I just don't get it.)

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