translating image to language to image again

Posted: March 4th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: The Latest | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

While pouring through information on the People’s Biennial’s current stop in Rapid City, South Dakota, I happened upon a South Dakota Public Radio broadcast discussing the show. The broadcast opens with Vicky Wicks interviewing Victoria Ledford, an artist who is participating in the Double Rainbow show, a show at the Dahl Arts Center featuring artists from Rapid City, Kyle, and Pine Ridge  South Dakota who submitted work to the Biennial but were not selected.

Listening to Victoria Ledford talk about her piece, which is entitled Lucinda Is So Happy About Her New People in a Purse that She Poops a Lollipop, I found myself mentally plagued with images of various breeds of dogs defecating various candies on a stick. Even with the help of the magical tool that is google, I was unable to find an image of the piece so that I could put my imagination to rest by seeing what the work actually looked like.

I was then struck by the idea of listening to visual art. Radio forces us to translate language into images, but what happens when we translate images to language to image again?

It reminded me of Maiza Hixson’s Men Are Much Harder, a piece chosen for the People’s Biennial in which people were asked to discuss images of the naked human body, though we, as audience, cannot see the image but must interpret what they see based on their descriptions. Rachel recently posted about this piece, so be sure to check it out if you haven’t already!

Both the radio broadcast and Maiza Hixson’s film work on two levels, forcing us to concoct in our own minds an image evoked by the language, be it a dog defecating a lollipop or the image shown by Maiza Hixson to the women she films, while the pieces themselves constitutes their own distinctive body of work. Maiza engages us in our imaginations, forcing us to rely on our memories of relevant images which we select based on what we find most applicable (i.e. What do I envision as the ideal male body? What is sexy to me? Is it different from what these women consider sexy?) I cannot wait for her film to arrive next spring for the Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery’s stint with the People’s Biennial, to have the opportunity to appreciate the thoughts of those in the video about the body and to have a new mechanism with which to evaluate my own opinions and ideas about the human form.

You may notice that I’m not using images in this post, which is really rare for our blog, because let’s be honest, we all love images. After all, an image is worth 1000 words. But sometimes the creation of your own image is as much a part of the piece as viewing the piece itself. On that note, I invite you to listen to the interview from South Dakota Public Radio. Listen to Jens Hoffman discuss the “artness” of Bruce Price’s work. Listen to Bruce Price talk. Who do you picture? What does an artist look like to you? But here’s the catch-don’t look at the images on the website yet. See what images are evoked for you. Then, scroll down the radio station’s page and click his picture. Will you be surprised? Will it match your mental image of what sort of work would “stand out” for Jens Hoffman?

There’s only one way to find out!


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