Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Artist Settles the Moon: Artefact or Habitat?

By Miriam Evanier
A review of Oona Eiren’s Let’s Settle the Moon
The Gallery Starbase of the DiD/Deutsche InfoWelt (151, 133, 4025)
“Oona, given the chance, would you really travel to the moon?”
“In a heartbeat.”
Oona Eiren (r. 7 Oct. 2009) owns the moon. She travelled there in a rusty trailer, or maybe on sound waves, and she has made it her very own. Discover the evidence yourself by visiting her satellite exhibit at The Gallery Starbase.

In the middle of a blue-dark city sits the grungy trailer, outgrowing itself with ramps to a few more trailers, each an odd mix of function and décor. There are signs of habitation, but they seem artefacts, overgrown with rust. You’re alone, but activity surrounds you. The environment calls out with formulas to study and experiments to conduct. Everything turns and changes. Touch a horn on the sound generator and combine sounds from a menu. In line drawings, displayed like graffiti, an odd assortment of inventors wield diverse inventions—inventions within inventions. Some of the drawn images form capsules that float off the page and drift away, becoming travellers in space, themselves. Teleport to the exhibit’s second level, the lunar surface with geysers of smoke and flame (or some stranger change of phase) and more trailers, filled with the symbols of science and cartography. Notice a fantastic carousel of two butterflies, each impaled above a casing that holds a passenger (yes, of course, two can ride it). Again, everything turns, with detailed attention to modes of music and visual art, against a harsh and antipoetic background.
How do we confront an alien environment? We dig in and start solving problems. We map. We keep all our notes so we can compare new observations to what we already know, or think we know. This art rewards your exploration by revealing reference points and resonances, shape and unity, everything we need for habitation.
(On the moon’s surface, don’t miss Oona Eiren’s trade-mark steam-punk top-hats on display. Also visit her own gallery Trailer Trash (Urban Retreat) Contemporary Outsider Art, at the New Boston Art Colony (14, 103, 751).)

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