January 08, 2013

image courtesy of the artist
"Home Movies (1248)", 2008, Jim Campbell

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By Kathryn Kopchik

LEWISBURG, Pa. — New media art pioneer Jim Campbell will exhibit this winter at the Samek Art Gallery at Bucknell University.

The exhibition, "At the Threshold," contains two mural-scale electronic sculptures and four wall mounted screens. Each incorporates the use of technology, cinema and LED light.

Samek Director Richard Rinehart curates a digital experience that dives into the New Media genre. The Samek has previously explored contemporary artists incorporating technology into their work such as the augmented reality pop-up exhibition, "Seeking Silicon Valley."

"At the Threshold" looks further into how the use of media in art questions our humanly senses of time, memory, and perceived reality. Hundreds of small LED lights fed looped images such as figures walking or birds flying. The profiles of these images are outlines of the negative space left by the trains of white lights. From a far, these images appear movie-like and flat. Approaching the work disrupts our perception of the once recognizable image leaving only movement and abstraction.

"To see the use of technology in art redefining how we exhibit and encounter the traditional image is mesmerizing. Campbell's use of custom electronics awakens a different engagement with what is in front of us" says Pam Campanaro, gallery associate.

New Media Arts commonly rely on digital modes of delivery, such as computer multimedia or the Internet. This genre reflects the immediate access to content people currently receive with iPhones, tablets, and other smart devices. For audiences that have grown up around these technical innovations, Campbell reminds people that although art can utilize technology, "perhaps we should be more concerned with being human, than with being digital."

"The age of New Media allows us access to infinite content at our fingertips. We depend on the virtual to answer questions and recall memories for us, eliminating the necessity for memory," Campanaro continues,

Campbell reintroduces the most basic encounters, a bird in flight, a subway car pulling into the station, triggering a questioning of what meaning we take from our reality.

"Home Movies" is a highlight of the exhibition. A large-scale electronic sculpture of repeating rows of LED lights hung ceiling to floor transforms the gallery walls into an illuminated landscape. From up close, Campbell's work resembles a beaded curtain. As audiences inch backward, the curtain draws to unveil blurred scenes of family vacations. These video images of distant memories take new shape as moving snapshots in three dimensions.

"You lose sight of whether or not these are your own personal recounts of time, places you have visited, or people you know," said Campanaro. "There's fluidity and poetic movement to 'Home Movies.' It could easily be a recollection of time from anyone's past."

In a related event, the Samek will host an interdisciplinary panel, "Memories Here and There," on Wednesday, March 20, at 6 p.m. [rescheduled from Feb. 13] The panel will feature two Bucknell faculty members: Maurice Aburdene, professor of electrical engineering, and Maria Balcells, visiting assistant professor of philosophy. Her research is based in the philosophy of time and the intersection of the physics of time and our experience of time.

"At The Threshold" opens Wednesday, Jan. 16, and may be seen through March 24 at the Samek Art Gallery, located on the third floor of the Elaine Langone Center at Bucknell.

For upcoming public programs and events for this and other exhibitions, visit http://galleries.blogs.bucknell.edu/events/

Contact: Division of Communications