Everything is Illuminated Jun 9, 2012

by Eric Pitsenbarger


The adventure begins just ridding the bus: So slow and deliberate. Stopping at every single ding to let off a person with too many bags, banging into everyone as they exit; for someone who either pays in change, needs the lift or has a question about whether this bus will enter the space time continuum? The answer to that is: "Duh!". I'm squirming in the back counting minutes, not wanting to be late and finally I'm there! OTB's NW New Works Festival and the palpable excitement is drawing people from all sides in small chatty groups, descending upon the Studio Showcase to rush Charles at the ticket booth. Once inside it's a love sandwich with Molly and Sean, filling out a questionnaire for KT Niehoff...scribbling impressions of the scene described therein, to perhaps be utilized within Sunday's Installation. Grab a seat, again up in the back next to a little girl, her Dad and fellow blogger Shannon. Lights! Showtime! Hush.


I don't know if it's ever a deliberate thing, a plan or theme (a round table discussion in OTB's sanctum), a plastic, flowing synchronistic zeitgeist or merely quixotic coincidence, but I seem to notice that what's being presented has a tendency towards the examination of...wonder. A great big, unruly, grand, dramatic and specific light pin-pointing or examining and revealing the nuances and wonder of everyday experience. The simultaneously daunting, intimidating largeness of everything and the sweet, decidedly silly simpleness. It's all the same, all the time...forever!


The wall of boxes erected for Tahni Holt's first piece just begs to be knocked down and sure enough it does...but with careful strokes; with punctuated, microbial examination of the movement. It's a disco inferno as told via an alien interpretation, or more truthfully: it's like watching your thoughts projected and segmented...surgically refracted to expose the particular shade, the strobe light slowed to a crawl as we witness elemental oneness, the enormity and simultaneously infinitesimal and how giddy is life while trying to make sense of it! Literally everything becomes illuminated. 


Danny Herter resurrects the grand myth of Gilgamesh and the first human, now reduced to it's base pop culture element: Beastie Boy educational documentary. The impossible largeness, the beyond imagining, the Speilburgion hollywood interp of enormousness...the reduction and dissecting of the fantastic. Silly humans and their need to always explain the unexplainable! It makes sense!


Corrie Befort takes us inside the vastness of feeling. Impressions that connect with our own experience. Stuff I seem to recognize but that is also deeply personal. I feel I'm watching a shadow move across a life to reveal moments now painted in contrast, connected and yet also abstract. Poignant, odd, particular and also muddy. Explained yet remaining intrinsically unexplainable. I'm still asleep and dreaming while also experiencing the visceral moment.


Interestingly, there is a great yawning silence that opens each piece this evening. The slow build from an electric hum to colliding cardboard boxes, the magnitude of heavenly structure, a projected cloud scape to the crinkling sliver space blanket Catherine Cabeen crawls under.


She: Emerging like Venus from the chrysalis wearing a raiment of noisy silver, she breaks it all up to share truths about body culture. A firebrand send-up of interpretive dance and of society's obsession with it's own navel...or more succinctly: Crotch Watching.


Our lives: Our everyday mundane and busy lives. So full of nuance and promise and impossible truths. So big as to be unexplainable...yet we keep trying. OK...back on the bus.