Sunday, March 04, 2007

Lost in Time and Space in BAM and Links to MWMC

One of the most interesting pieces of Nauman’s work was the “Get Out of my Mind, Get Out of this Room” piece. This was the white room with two loud speakers right in the center of two walls. The noises playing were Nauman’s recorded grunts, breathes, blows, slurps, growls, whispers, strange and random noises, and apparently he also whispered repeatedly, “Get Out of my Mind, Get Out of this Room.” Upon entering the room, the sound instantly envelops the mind and the spirit of the viewer; the viewer is “immersed” into the room as opposed just included in it. This sudden ‘immersion” into Nauman’s noises, into his mind gives the effect of being lost in time and space. The only marker of the passage of time was the continuous, endless sounds that came from the speakers. This is not the usual time marker, such as a clock or metronome, which mechanically marks time; these noises vary in loudness and are not spaced out in even time intervals. This gives the effect that time in his mind is slowing down at moments when he makes soft noises separated by longer periods of time while time in his mind speeds up when the noises are made louder and more frequently.

Upon “immersing” into the room, there was also a sense of familiar yet lost space. The noises that Nauman makes are familiar, noises that every person makes at certain moments in life. Yet Nauman’s noises also feel alienating since weird noises stringed together with whispers for long periods of time give the effect of being in a room that’s completely alienated from the rest of the world. This might signify that Nauman’s mind is completely alienated from society, as most artists are. In return, the room and random noises make the room feel like it is lost space, lost because being in the space of someone’s mind is not an experience people can identify. The two speakers on opposite walls made Nauman’s mind seem as if it was constantly going back and forth between thoughts very rapidly. This is reminiscent of the effect time traveling (by the camera or fictional machine) has on the Time Traveler in Time Machine. This speed and movement of thoughts was also experienced by the early audiences when cinema was first screened.

The other piece of art that I found interesting in the Measure of Time exhibit was the cage-like cylinder made of thin, corroded metal bars welded together into a net-like fence that served as the skeleton of the structure. This structure was hanging from the ceiling and had little turning, squeaky wheel-like circles within the cylinder that were made of the same material. This kinetic sculpture was surprising because sculptures usually do not move, they are almost always static art pieces. The little turning circles, which moved at different speeds relative to each other, were reminiscent of the gears in the machines shown in Man with the Movie Camera. The “gears” going at different speeds signify a sense of dichotomy as opposed to unity as Vertov represents them by showing them going at constant, quick speeds in unison with the rest of the gears in the machines. Also, the “gears” on this sculpture did not turn at constant speeds, they moved rather slowly and they were squeaky. This a huge contrast, almost rebellion to the well-oiled, fast and harmoniously humming of machined in the Industrial Revolution as shown by Vertov. The discordant squeaky noises also starkly crash with the convention of everything and everyone being in unison and harmony with each other as represented by Vertov.



Blogger Jeff said...

I liked the time exhibit for showing the machines and how they move by air or human powered by turning a switch. I found that this was actually similar to Vertov's film when he depicts the machines because even though these machines make squeaky noises we don't know that the machines in his film did not make some sort of noises as well. Because of the music that was played over the movies the entire time. But that when machine in the exhibit where you had to flip the switch so that it would move is exactly like Vertov's film where the workers have to switch the machine on so that it would start.

3/04/2007 1:46 PM  
Blogger Alex K said...

The one thing I found fascinating about the cage-like sculpture with the mechanical wheels is that even though the source was moving at the constant speed, all other wheels varied. All wheels were connected by one wire, but each slowed down and sped up individually, seemingly independent of each other. And yet, all of them were driven by the same source that was turning with a constant speed.

3/04/2007 10:49 PM  
Blogger Danica said...

This idea of "immersion" into some type of media is interesting. The exercise we did for the first day of class is a good link to this as well. We had to talk about something we did that affected our experience of time. Some people said sitting in class made time drag on, whereas driving in the car can make time go faster. As an example, when you play video games, you can make a case for being "immersed" in the media, losing your standard judge of time, and thus it seems sped up.

4/29/2007 4:58 PM  

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