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Coming Up: Intelligent Design

Easterson.jpg

Cockroaches, pigeons, dogs, cats, ants, bears, baboons, rats, spiders and trout are just a few of the creatures included in the show Intelligent Design: Interspecies Art, which opens tomorrow at UCR's Sweeney Art Gallery. Co-curated by LA artist Rachel Mayeri and gallery director Tyler Stallings, the show features the work of 20 artists and is a stellar collection of projects, including the fascinating "animal cam" videos made by Sam Easterson, who attaches tiny cameras to the bodies of animals to gather fascinating footage, and Jim Trainor's quirky, sublime animations that unite hand-drawn imagery with unusual, often highly sexual narratives. Beatriz da Costa's work with pigeons is also included; the artist outfits pigeons with sensing devices and enlists their help in tracking local pollution. LA-based artist Sean Dockray is represented in the show with his video portrait of Argentine ants; to make the video, titled Ameising 1, Dockray created a software app that captures the paths of the ants. The resulting video is compelling at once as an unfolding motion drawing and as a scientific study. Hilja Keading will show her video installation The Bonkers Devotional and Mayeri presents Primate Cinema, a video that juxtaposes footage of baboons with that of humans reenacting the animal imagery. Rather than delineating human and animal, culture and nature, the paired videos instead blur the boundaries, pointing to the impossibility of seeing the "natural" without the lens of the cultural. And that notion seems to capture the show as a whole. Can't get to UCR any time soon? Go to the Web site, click on "images," and look for the video excerpts included on many of the artists' pages. While it's not as good as being there, it's still pretty great...
Image: from animal cam video by Sam Easterson

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