Visual art stimulates audience imagination

By Patrick Gallagher
February 19, 2010

Pictured is outside of the Institute of Contemporary Arts where the video art exhibit is being shown for free. Patrick Gallagher/Staff Writer

The Institute of Contemporary Arts is a place where freedom of expression and individuality are expressed in various ways. It is the use of these talents that truly defines the institution.

“I love it, I just feel so apart of all of the art here,” Linda Harris, a local resident of Philadelphia and ICA guard, said.

The ICA is free for all guests and has three different exhibitions on two different levels. The first floor exhibit is called, “Dance with Camera.” This is where they highlight different works of art from the past.

It was here that Harris was asked if she had a favorite. She immediately smiled and said, “I was waiting for you to ask.”

Then directed over at a wall-mounted television where a piece of work entitled, “4 Lawyers,” created by Ann Carlson, was playing. Harris was able to perform a small recreation of the masterful piece of work. She was able to mimic every action and spit out every line. It was evident that the people at the exhibit are very passionate about the art and that it all can affect a person in a very strong manner.

It is easy to see that everyone here has an extreme passion for what is displayed and that it is able to take on a life of its own. It can transport you to different worlds and into a new state of mind.

The ICA is an ever-changing place. There are new films constantly being rotated through a new genre every time. They rotate between documentaries, animations, absurd demonstrations and humor.

The movie being highlighted during the next few weeks is called “Break Away.” It is a five-minute long film that highlights the art of self expression and free bodily movements. The film is about one girl in a dark area. She then executes quick, almost chaotic, movements that were liberating and looked as if she was releasing from her soul, tuning out any thought and just going by instinct. In the short glimpses and shots of the girl’s eyes, one can see the loneliness, the seclusion and the shyness that are acting as the girls external voice. It was the rest of the film that showed her true voice that was screaming on the inside. She possesses an untamed soul that was fighting and striving to “break away” and through that outer shell and be set free into the outside world.

Much of the exhibits are aimed to empower the artist through the expression of art in video. Some of the most inspiring and provoking art can only be shown through movement, which can only be captured in a video instead of a single photograph.

“The art is always changing and there are always new and exciting new improvements and changes to our exhibits,” William, visitor services and educational assistant, said.

The “Video Art: Replay” exhibition on the second floor is just one of these new and exciting additions.

“It is like a snapshot of current video art, and a look into the minds of our newest creators and imaginers,” William said.

Within animation the artist can conjure fantasy and create a whole new life with make-believe. It doesn’t have any certain technique or boundaries. This is where many new artists are exploring with their newest and deepest tries for originality and creativity.

The general feeling and mood of the art work and creations is hard to contain into one single definition. They are all beautiful and demand the visitor to explore their own mind. It can change how you may see one certain object, or thought in a way that could open doors.

It is almost as if it is a battle of body versus soul and all of these artists are able to just simply shut off all thoughts. They become so in tune with their bodies that they are able to just let their soul take over and control all of their actions.

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Patrick Gallagher

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