Be a Part of Art with Stephanie Barber’s 31 days/31 videos

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On June 25, visual artist and writer Stephanie Barber moved her studio into the Baltimore Museum of Art, where she has been creating a new video each day as part of the Sondheim Prize exhibition. The goal of her project, entitled jhana and the rats of james olds or 31 days/31 videos, is to create, and subsequently screen, “a series of short, poetic videos in the playful and serious footprints of Oulipo games and daily meditations.”

Unlike most museum pieces, which are put on display to be experienced passively after being completed out-of-view, 31 days/31 videos incorporates museum visitors as creative partners, as Barber’s piece blurs the line between product and production. Or, as she puts it: “It is an inversion of the way we usually experience art work, a moving from the inside out.”

Poet and publisher Adam Robinson describes the interactive and process-heavy aspects of the project: “When was the last time you’ve seen pictures from a magazine haphazardly tacked to a museum’s wall? Or the last time you watched a video with a soundtrack performed by museum patrons as they pass through?”

jhana and the rats of james olds, along with the work of the other finalists for the 2011 Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize, will be exhibited until August 7 at the BMA. Finalists this year are (in addition to Barber) Louie Palu, Mark Parascandola, Matthew Porterfield, and Rachel Rotenberg. Matthew Porterfield is this year’s winner.

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  1. I saw this show and it is incredible. The videos she’s making are awesome! I am so impressed with the BMA for hosting this super contemporary show.

  2. Wow ! What an exiting day at the museum. This artist’s space is one of the most creative I have experienced in years. And so much fun to be invited to become part of the outcome. I hope my “I love you” becomes one of the 31.

  3. For me, Stephanie’s exhibit de-mystified and then re-mystified the process of making beautiful experimental films. As she sat quietly typing, clicking, maybe murmuring to herself with headphones on, it struck me as so technical. Watching her work on any one aspect of one component, such as clipping audio tracks or coloring in parts of an image on screen, opened a door for me to finally relate to what she does. I thought, I too work on a computer getting things just so, ok I see. Then I saw a finished product and realized no, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Stephanie knows how to make each component of her films contribute something more moving and important than I would have ever predicted. She is incredible.

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