Last night's happening
By JAMES BARBER
"Do we have to take our shows off?" "Why do we have to take our shows off?" "I'm not going to take mine off, its ridiculous." "Where are we going?" "Why are those lights blinking?" "I feel kind of silly carrying this flower-wanna trade it for your ribbon?" "Hey look in there." "It's just lights and stuff-anyway we can see it later-I want to see those dancers." "Hey everybody else has-perhaps if I lean on you then you can lean on me-what do we do , carry them? Well I guess they will be alright here." "Hey do you remember when you had your appendix out and they gave you morphine?" "Do we go in here? Dark isn't it." "Wish there was somewhere to sit." "No I don,t think you should the light will spoil it, you can get one later." "Isn't that strange, like looking into space, you never know where it is -like mirrors...."
The Vancouver Art Gallery was a very different scene on Tuesday night. A lot (an obvious lot, but they were to dispersed to count) of people were there for the first of the Intermedia Nights. And some were pleased and some were disappointed, and some like the big butch blond elbowing her way out, said sweetly and simply to her friend: "You ain't kidden it's a drag. Lets go over to Isy's. "
I think it was a success, the main entrance was closed off, and the audience went in , past flashing lights, into the corridors, also intermittently lit. And if they wished they stopped at Joan Balzar's Light on Light, where they could play with Herb Gilbert's switchboard and illuminate the neon and acrylic structures and get excited at the afterglow, the image that stays just a moment in the dark.
And upstairs was helen goodwin's A Space With Performers in the main gallery. It was an interesting experience,four dancers moving in an environment of vertical fluorescent tubes which created an infinitely variable space, sometimes foreground sometimes background, and sometimes just dimensionless space. They moved to a music, and in the first performance to a voice, repeating over and over, "she was a visitor." It was hypnotic and a little too long but it worked - it moved space.
But in the second performance something went wrong, either with the sound or the concept, because it didn't work and the audience didn't understand that what they were hearing was the amplified sound of the Florissant tubes. and I think that if they had been told they might have been a little more tolerant.
There is a need for more education on both sides of the art/technology field. what is happening is as much in its infancy as any of the early movies, when projectors broke down, when lamps burned out and operators got the film in backwards. But nobody is quite prepared to admit the inadequacies of our present system, when wire has to be used to transmit sound and electricity, and the wires get disconnected or misconnected. So the artists-and I just know that John Masciuch will when he reads this-get up-tight about criticism, and they shouldn't, they need a sense of proportion and a sense of humor mixed with the dedication.
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