DigiMazing puts students art on screen

By Victoria Casal-Data, CORRESPODENT
On April 26, 2011

For the first time in its 27-year history, the Marshall Student Center (MSC) Centre Gallery is hosting an exhibition devoted entirely to video art.

"DigiMazing," which ends Friday, consists of 10 pieces from five USF undergraduate artists that use projectors, television sets and even QR codes to display their work.

An artists' statement in a press release noted the Guggenheim Museum's "YouTube Play" exhibition and said "DigiMazing" hoped to "help educate and bring awareness of this developing art."

John Shirk's "Zero" is one of two pieces to use a projector and shows side-by-side shots of the artist slowly opening the window blinds of an all-green hotel room.

Shirk, a senior majoring in fine arts, said that the video almost resembles the format of photography.

"There's two projections because, aesthetically, I think it's really nice juxtaposition just to have the two doing almost the same thing and move so slowly that you almost take it as a photograph and can only tell the movement by comparing the two," Shirk said.

He said the piece's colors allude to his visit to Puerto Rico during a certain meteorological phenomenon.

"During that time of year, there's a big sand cloud that comes from the Sahara Desert and it covers the island," Shirk said. "It is very green."

Niloofar Ghazi-Maghaddam, a senior majoring in chemistry, said she liked that Shirk's artwork forces viewers to make their own conclusions about its meaning.

"The artist leaves it open to the viewer," Ghazi-Maghaddam said. "You can draw your own interpretation. You need to work for it and I like that idea."

Adrian Errico, a senior majoring in fine arts, created the video "Eye Contact." It also uses a projector, but is enclosed in one of the gallery's back corners and contributes to the exhibition's "adult content" warning.

"Eye Contact" shows Errico staring at the camera as projected pornographic images of a man and woman are reflected on her face. She said she hoped to visually convey the unhealthy and unrealistic ideas of femininity that are projected onto society.

"This piece is against this sort of view on femininity, but at the same time, I'm still absorbing it on some level," Errico said.

Samuel Bishop's piece "Momento Mori Series" is a non-sequential video that addresses themes like time, death and romance, and is shown on a television set.

Bishop, a senior majoring in fine arts, said the idea of losing a love to death or another person plays an important part in his project and he chose to use his wife and himself as some of the video's characters.

"When I was a teenager, I never thought about dying … but when I fell in love and got married, ‘till death do us part' weighed heavy on my mind," Bishop said. "From that point on, I had to start thinking about death and how much time I have left to be with the love of my life."

Other artists include Scott Draft, who contributed an interactive work with four screen-printed QR codes that students can scan with their smartphones. These link online to videos of his such as "The Mustache Game" and "Skeleton Libido."

Lindsay Scoggins offered "Poison Progression," which edits together video from prescription drug commercials.

Scoggins was also one of 25 artists accepted into the Guggenheim Museum's "YouTube Play" exhibition last year for her piece "Wonderland Mafia" - a mashup of "Alice in Wonderland" and Three 6 Mafia.

Overall, Bishop said anyone who visits "DigiMazing" should expect serious art, rather than simple video.

"The audience should not come to this exhibition expecting to watch movies," Bishop said. "The audience should come, watch and absorb."

Centre Gallery is located in MSC 2700 and is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information on the gallery, visit ctr.usf.edu/gallery.

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