Friday, December 17, 2010

Leaving Dakota


Last Tuesday I went to the art opening for Kyle Cassidy's Leaving Dakota.  It was a mad thing to do because I was working on the novel revisions and had to buy a Christmas tree that evening and had to postpone supper up to late night to make room for it.  But I went anyway.

It was a very strange exhibition.

For one thing, it was held in Kyle's house.  "I wanted to demonstrate that you can have an art exhibit anywhere," he explained to me.  Which is why the photos were on the wall of his staircase.  For another, the photos were unframed.  And for a last, they were mounted snapshot-sized.

This would have been a weird-but-nifty thing for one of my art friends to do back in the day when we were all young and impoverished.  It is a very cool thing for a professional who's making a living at this stuff to do.

The pictures themselves are episodes in an unstated story, all of them (in the story) taken by a cameraman with very bad lenses.  (Kyle bought an old Leica for the project.)  But what makes the project particularly innovative is that the pics and artist statement can all be fit in a single envelope.  So he's mailing the show across the country and inviting other people to change the order of the pictures and add photos of their own! 

As Harlan would say, that's as strange as finding a neon donut on your breakfast plate.  I'm glad I went.

You can see the photos themselves -- all of them -- here.  And his blog entry where he arranged the project here.

Above:  Kyle himself, the art itself, the stairs themselves.



Oz said...

Kyle used two leicas digilux cameras. One of them, the 1998, I donated to the project. It was my first digital camera, given to by my father for Christmas.

Michael Swanwick said...

As a nonphotographer, I found Kyle's insistence on the badness of the shots difficult to suss out. The results were visually weird, yes. But they were visually weird in a way that only a good photographer could achieve.

Maybe this is the equivalent of a story told by a narrator who insists he's not particularly glib.

kyle cassidy said...

I think it's sort of like saying "I'm going to write a 500 word short story, but I'm only going to use words found in this paper towel commercial."