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March 29, 2007

Architectures of Control

Posted in: Art/Design

Whimsical video manipulations are everywhere when you walk into the joint June Bum Park/Pascual Sisto show at bitforms, each playing games with size and perception. From III Crossing, which shows a gigantic hand manipulating real pedestrians and traffic in a busy intersection to Puzzle 3 showing a classroom from above where each desk is a puzzle piece and students slowly, amusingly work it out to The Occupation, where we watch as two hands reconfigure a quaint country setting into an ever-growing strip mall.

And it’s that last video that gets you thinking that there might be something deeper here. Look around again and it hits you. They’re all asking questions about the nature of control: social, physical, political. What everyday limits do we not even think to question?

Walking to the next room, you find the same ideas in Push/Pull as it rearranges video of seemingly endless lanes of traffic with kaleidoscopic results. On one wall, you see the cars coming, on the other you see them going. It’s really quite beautiful on its surface, even hypnotic. As you stand in-between, though, claustrophobia can creep in. Strict lines where you want freedom, external control where you want self determination. Or is the regularity and predictability reassuring? (video)

When we visit Chelsea, we typically hit bunches of places but, with this show and U-Ram Choe back in January, bitforms is making a pretty convincing argument that it’s worth the trip by itself. There’s more on Park/Sito show at bitforms.com. Or see them by themselves: June Bum Park, Pascual Sisto.

Also fantastic in Chelsea are Amy Culter’s gorgeously off-kilter illustrations, Jean Shin’s extra fun keyboard keys art, Darren Almond’s meditative video juxtaposition of railroad, landscape, and monks in Tibet, and stunning photos of nuclear plants amongst middle America from Mitch Epstein.

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