Archive for January 1, 2007

Blacktop Man: Bootleg Version by Nari Ward @ Dirty Yoga
Mr. Ward’s sculpture is comprised of an asphalt man and a video screen eternally showing the commercial logos before movies, a move that shows a certain savvy with today’s copy-left movement as the logos before films are legal to film while the act of pulling out a video camera and taping a film after them is illegal. Hence Mr. Ward’s sculpture takes in a little of performance, he has gone to cinemas and carefully screened only the legal scenes from films for his work (actually correct that: I think he pulled the logos from DVDs) making the fact that we can not manipulate the rest of the film legally a point made in absence, but film is a public medium something that everyone experiences and understands. On the other hand asphalt (his secondary technology) is an ancient medium (the Persians mined it and used it for mortar) that also comprises a major part of the public’s experience. After all we drive over it everyday. Unbelievably asphalt is one of the world’s most reused and recycled technologies (80% of American asphalt is reused in highways) hence Mr. Ward has juxtaposed two technologies with opposing legalities behind them. Asphalt has made possible the travel of the modern world, but as much as film could travel down today’s fiber optics highways it’s stuck in a legal trap. Mr. Ward seems to be suggesting that our identities are in part the product of the technologies we inhabit and that the restricted use of modern day technologies has in term created paradoxes for our control of ourselves (or maybe not?). Additionally, his sculpture contains pirated CDs etc creating even more questions about the legalities behind copying and selling works and ya know it’s a Blacktop Man and yes pirated CDs and DVDs are usually available in the ghettos in the U.S. hence it does have a racial angle too.

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January 1, 2007 at 3:27 pm Leave a comment

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