Arts » Visual Arts

Review: Selections from "Project 35"


Work by Kota Ezawa is part of the current exhibit at the IMA.
  • Work by Kota Ezawa is part of the current exhibit at the IMA.

3.5 stars

Videos by Robert Cauble, Kota Ezawa and Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz; Indianapolis Museum of Art Holman Video Gallery; through Oct. 30.

If you feel that Disney's animated Alice in Wonderland is a classic that shouldn't be messed with, then Robert Cauble's "Alice in Wonderland or Who is Guy Debord?" will probably take you down the wrong rabbit hole. This particular video appropriates scenes from the Disney film. It shows Alice not only having to deal with the Mad Hatter, but also with the quasi-Marxist Situationalists led by Frenchman Guy Debord. It's cool but also unsettling to see Alice rapping Situationalist dogma with a crew of flowers. Alice is, needless to say, not a born rapper.

As if to punish her for not getting with the program, they engulf her in a blur of capitalist media imagery, including scenes from Star Trek and hundreds of other clips, to a techno-rave beat. After that, having the Cheshire Cat tell you that you're a fictional character must be a real downer.

Even more of a downer is Kota Ezawa's "Lennon/Sontag/Beuys" featuring vintage documentary clips — John Lennon talking about the purpose of his bed-in, for example — that are rotoscoped so that they appear animated like cartoons but are disjointed and arcane nonetheless.

Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz's "Topic I: Contemporary Art," a discussion of "white box" art in terms of hip-hop lingo, is a lot more animated, as it were, than Ezawa's contribution to this project.


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