By Chris Joseph
By Michael E. Miller
By Kyle Swenson
By David Villano
By Kyle Swenson
By John Thomason
By Michele Eve
The show's most elaborate work, which takes up the entire last gallery, is P.I.U. Pump It Up (Motivational Tapes for Artists), an installation that re-creates a conference room, complete with sofa, coffee table, lamp, miniblinds, paintings, and houseplants. The focal point of the piece is a long table surrounded by eight chairs and strewn with the leftovers of a meeting: a coffee carafe and mugs, empty Starbucks cups, napkins, folders, pens and papers, a staple remover.
Above the table is a TV playing a loop of eight people talking about art and a mysterious company called MSG, which also turns out to be the name of the anonymous group of people who collaborated on the piece. On the walls are color photographs of the eight featured in the video.
My two favorite works achieve a hypnotic effect, although they arrive at it from opposite ends of the spectrum. Kevin Arrow's Untitled (Hell)is a monochromatic projection of some vintage audiovisual equipment from the 1950s. But this simple, even bland image is rendered hyperkinetic by another projector that throws constantly (and rapidly) shifting patterns. Paradoxically, staring at the piece for any length of time induces an almost eerie calmness.
The other work, also projected onto a wall, is Wet (Dream), by Dimitry Saïd Chamy. It's a roughly three-minute video of nothing more than three adjacent pale-blue pillows that seem to hang in space, superimposed with drops of water that flicker fleetingly across the pillows from left to right. Put on one of two available sets of headphones and you'll hear the aural counterpart to the imagery -- softly gurgling water. It's a piece I returned to more than once and easily one of the works that make "Plugged In" well worth a visit. Even though there are misses among the hits here, Salzinger has expanded the Art and Culture Center's horizons once again.