I’ve been a passive fan of Peter Shelley’s Telephone Operator (1983) for a while, but only today did I think to look up the video. All these years, I’d never paid close enough attention to realize the song is about an upset drunk male whose come ons haven’t seduced a telephone operator! As it happens, the video fetishizes digital technology using much of the same iconography as digital artists. Circuitry is everywhere and so are computers. Here, we see a circuit board shirt, circuit board line drawings, actual circuit boards, a computer, a room full of computers, a room full of telephones, dot matrix print outs, and Tron-like renderings of figures and the inside of telephone cables. All of this seems to suggest a rather creepy scenario in which Shelley becomes increasingly obsessed. Even 30 years ago, technology was a good way to violate other people’s privacy. And much like today, also a convenient way to get laid.
A visit last week to the Kunstraum introduced me to their new studio program dedicated to provided short term affordable studio space and exhibition space to artists. The spaces I saw didn’t look to be much larger than a couple hundred square feet—perfect for some and small for others—but part of the program includes the opportunity for studio artists to use the gallery as a space for curation and events. So that’s awesome.
What a strange coming of the Lord, Anthony Antonellis‘s stained glass iPhone presents. Unlike most places of worship, this space is entirely empty, lit only by the glow of the phone. This version of the phone doesn’t appear to connect us with anyone. Is this what life with a smart phone is like; solitary and quiet? The space reminds me less of a temple than it does a movie theatre; a place where we sit together in silence while sharing something of a communal experience.
It’s Friday. There’s very little in the way of art news happening today—so let’s go back and chill with the past. Really, this is just an excuse to watch YouTube vids. Today, we’re saying hello to an old AFC favorite, Klaus Nomi.