SF Chronicle: Artists focus on time and technology in dynamic new installation

by Reyhan Harmanci | Original article can be found on sfgate.com.

Eve Ekman, along with co-curator Jana Flynn, curates shows that try to bring the art off the walls. It’s not an economically wise move (hard, if not impossible, to sell an installation) but her team, dubbed Dream Come True productions, hasn’t had trouble finding willing artists.

“I like to say, if you’re in a museum and you’re flat on the wall, you should be dead,” Ekman says, noting that some contemporary artists, such as Matthew Barney, do make for dynamic museum shows. “I’m interested in work that engages the entire space.

“You know, shows in smaller spaces can be so much like parties that, unless you’re really engaging people, they’re just going to hang out.”

Ekman has created a show, and planned an opening, that would be impossible to idly sip wine around. “Fast Forward/Rewind” is about time and technology. It features multimedia works from a variety of artists, including performances by Oakland’s Official Tourist (who mixes music in one room while having a live video feed to another room, creating a performance piece while performing) and San Francisco rowdy band the Mall.

“I made up this word, ‘fossilosophy,’ to capture the idea of narrative archaeology,” Ekman says. “Basically that it’s as impossible to capture the past as it is to tell the future.” Both concepts are mediated by the ever-shifting perception of the beholder; nothing, she says, is written in stone.

Ekman, who is an artist herself as well as the force behind arts magazine Ethsix, has a piece in the show (which opened in New York and will likely travel to Mexico City, with different works in each locale). She has constructed a movable wall of 140 handmade postcards, which collectively make a photogram of palmistry, sent from San Francisco to New York, that deals with “mysticism and talisman, ways in which people try to tell the future.” Another work, by Adam Wier, deals with time’s corrosive elements by importing the elements of a beach — sand, chairs, umbrella — into the gallery.

There’s the obvious downside to the future: obsolescence. Artist Brian Caraway has connected two now-decorative items, Corinthian columns and cassette tapes, in his work. He built the column out of tapes. “They are both useless in some ways,” Ekman says, “but that wasn’t always the case.”
Even with flat-wall works, Ekman is hoping to add garnishes such as string around the gallery to connect the color between the pieces. “Anything to engage the viewer,” she says, “projections, live video, we want to bring the interactive space alive.”