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Digital artwork

An exhibit exploring highly nontraditional associations society has with technology is on display in the Marshall Center. “Blimey!,” an exhibit of works by Mike Salmond, is on display until Friday.

Salmond, a native of Plymouth, England, is a graduate student in the College of Visual and Performing Arts. He lists the burgeoning Brit-Art scene as his major artistic influence. Many Americans may only be familiar with the movement in association with the “Sensation” exhibition held at the Brooklyn Museum of Art a couple of years ago, but “It’s not all cut up cows and elephant dung,” assures Salmond.

The largest work in the gallery is “videogame trailer,” in which the viewer, listening to a head set, watches and hears instructions of a mission being typed on an image projected into the corner of the gallery. Then, a digital image of the “game” is shown, and the viewer hears yelling and gun shots.

“It gives the viewer a chance to interact with the art and make a partnership between the artist and the viewer,” said Mike Caracker, gallery fund-raising coordinator.

Around the image are cutouts of dangerous and not so dangerous armed people. Wearing the headphones may be a bit cumbersome at first, but they make the viewer focus on the work and bring them into the artist’s intended setting.

“This exhibit is a completely different, digital setup,” said Gina Benedetto, assistant gallery director. “It’s not sterile. Some people walk in and seem afraid to touch the works, but we’ve been encouraging interaction with this exhibition.”

Another work, entitled “scum,” includes a sock filled with pool balls hanging from the ceiling. Paired with the sock is an animation of one figure assaulting another with a similar “weapon,” much like those seen in old Homey the Clown skits on In Living Color.

“Sick” features 10 floppy disks framed behind glass. Each disk has a name denoting different computer viruses, including “I love you,” “Happy” and “Melissa.”

Another work is “great expectations,” a collection of personal computer keyboards with alternate, one-touch shortcut keys. The keyboards hang from the ceiling in a circle, so the viewer walks into a small cubicle. One keyboard has a “Make Art” key, while another is comprised almost entirely of “porn” keys.

They try to address the instant-gratification nature of today’s society as a way to find the ultimate shortcut for various tasks.

“People think that the technology will solve all their problems, but you still have to do the work,” said Salmond.

Many of the works in “blimey!” are labor-intensive; for instance, “great expectations” was assembled piece-by-piece during a three- to four-month span.

Salmond strives to gain more acceptance for digital art.

“Lot’s of people, even in the art world, have difficulty seeing through the technicals, but this is more about art than technology,” Salmond said.

  • Contact Andrew Pinaat