Saturday, October 5, 2013
Exterior of Omni Hotel in Dallas became giant video screen Friday night
The 2nd annual "Expanded Cinema" featured multimedia art.
Dallas art enthusiasts had high expectations for the art and light show, which was commissioned specifically for the hotel's exterior LED surface. The success of last year’s event prompted organizers to grow the event to include artists from around the nation and add a theme, “MultipliCity,” an ode to both the diversity and connectivity of city culture, according to curator Mona Kasra.
Encompassing a space 20 stories tall by 1,000 feet wide on the skyline, “Expanded Cinema” invited city residents to experience this public art display from anywhere they could. Hickory House Barbecue hosted an official watching party in an adjacent dirt patch bordering Interstate 30, where tall speakers were set up to broadcast the audio component of the show via 91.7 KXT radio station.
Unfortunately, the location was too close to the action. Spoken poetry over the speakers competed with the buzz of traffic, and images were difficult to define because of the proximity. “Expanded Cinema,” nonetheless, achieved another awe-inspiring 46 minutes that is sure to stick with those who witnessed it.
“Expanded Cinema” boasted an array of perspectives on city life. New York-based artist Jenny Vogel’s “1,001 non-smoking guest rooms” juxtaposed a single human figure against an endless corridor of doorways. Like walking down a busy street in Manhattan, this figure’s solitude within a large group “creates the illusion of exchange, but only confirms the reality of our distance,” said an omnipresent voice.
Booker T. Washington students Christian Salinas and Kyra-Michelle Jacobs produced one of the most enticing pieces of the evening. Their original work entitled “Multiplicity” was a journey through Dallas via a sultry woman in dark black sunglasses. Beginning on the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, she drove through the city’s landmarks, listening to an insightful voice on the radio explain the nature of adaptation.
Still the most striking of the 12 pieces were those that played to the medium. “Strike Without Warning” by Kelly Sears (Los Angeles) used the Omni to depict radio waves that broadcast emergency sirens and distress signals before a montage of crumbling buildings burst into flames.
In "o/x" by Austinite Luke Savisky, men and women swam the width of the hotel in a never-ending stream of flickering rainbows. The images were detailed, yet simple and consistent, so as not overstimulate the eyes.
“Expanded Cinema” veteran Carolyn Sorter played with the geometric shape of the Omni in “Glass Valley (or does this make my butte look big?)” by contextualizing Dallas as a desert landscape full of manmade buttes and spires.
Despite the watch party’s aesthetic difficulties, “Expanded Cinema” was logistically a success. To coordinate the visual and audio components, procure engaging artists and do so on a scale that size is an overwhelming feat. It’s one I hope the Video Association of Dallas will keep experimenting with to incubate many more progressive artists.Follow @tineywristwatch