Art of the cell: Exhibit captures phone chats

Phoning it in: A multi-media exhibit that includes Laura Karetzky’s paintings of her iPhone conversations will go on display at Bric House on April 7.
James Marcus-Wade

It is a technological translation.

A Dumbo couple have created a multi-media art exhibit out of a fleeting series of their phone calls, text messages, and Skype conversations. The paintings, videos, and music of “In-Communication/ In-Transit,” opening April 7 at Bric in Fort Greene, preserve moments that may have barely registered at the time, says one of the creators.

“Having a camera ready at all times allows us all to capture experiences as they pass before our eyes, even before being able to feel or process them,” said artist Laura Karetzky. “We are able to save the experiencing part for when we go back and look at them later.”

Karetzky and composer Manuel Sosa began the project in 2004, when Karetzky was on a residency upstate. The pair communicated regularly, and Karetzky began capturing random moments of their technological communication.

“We share our work ideas constantly. Often via text, sound clips, or photos as we are each working in our own spaces, so this kind of a collaboration is natural and perhaps even inevitable,” she said.

Karetzky turned her screen-shots and photos into elaborate oil-on-wood paintings. A friend described the project as “translating 21st-Century experience through 15th-Century technology,” she said.

She and Sosa also created a soundtrack for the show of voices singing and speaking, along with some instrumental sections. The music pieces are based on words that the pair often used during their conversations, including “here,” “blue,” “opening,” and “there.” Each video also has its own music, so the sounds will change as visitors walk around the space.

“The music is in constant dialogue with itself, as well as with the visual work,” said Karetzky.

The snapshots of conversation, presented without their full context, have a powerful effect on viewers, said Karetzky, and even on the person who created it.

“When a moment takes you outside of your own immediate reality and makes you see that moment as an outsider, that can be both poetic and comedic at the same time,” she said.

“In-Communication/ In-Translation” at Bric [647 Fulton St. at Ashland Place in Fort Greene, (718) 855–7882, Opening reception on April 7, 7–9 pm. On display through May 7.

Up against the wallpaper: Artist Laura Karetzky creates oil paintings based on screenshots from her phone.
Photo by Jason Speakman

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