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Bored @ Blindside

On Thursday morning on the 7th floor of the Nicolas Building a small group of high school kids were waiting outside Blindside for the gallery to be opened. When the gallery attendant arrived about 10 minutes late and unlocked the door the school kids then lined up in the gallery along the path taped on the floor marked “End Zone”. They waited for the video and sound to be turned on and then took one look at Blaine Cooper’s installation “End Zone (Always do the Bad Thang)” and then left.

I was also waiting and watching the jeweler at work, a floor down across the light well at the Nicholas Building. I was hoping to the school kids would engage with the installation; jogging on the treadmill or playing the guitar as Blaine Cooper suggested in his notes on the exhibition. But the video montage of movie explosions and the rock music were not that inspiring or motivating rather they are too familiar and mundane. And neither the Marshal amp nor the treadmill had been turned on yet.

The gallery attendant told me that later that day at the exhibition opening Blaine Cooper would be running on the treadmill with guitarist, Nicholas Lam of The Vaudeville Smash, cranking up the amp.

I don’t know if I want to put that much effort into making some piece of contemporary art work and this not an isolated incident. Too much contemporary art is like a lame performance where audience participation is a demand rather than an option. Maybe I wasn’t in the right mood, not that the demand for participation encourages me to feel generous in my mood. Demanding that an audience participate is a sure way to annoy those who are feeling uncommitted and undecided. An audience may be willing to participate when the artist has already won the audience’s interest, sympathy, respect…

I’m bored now – I’m leaving.

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About Mark Holsworth

Writer, independent researcher and artist, Mark Holsworth is the author of the book Sculptures of Melbourne. View all posts by Mark Holsworth

2 responses to “Bored @ Blindside

  • Jane

    On the contrary I really loved Blaine’s piece at this show – it was one of my favourites this year. I took in a group of people, and they went nuts running on the treadmill and doing air guitar. Blaine gave a talk about his work…I didn’t feel any of the usual demand with video art in this piece.

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