“The Zinzinnati of the Spectacle”. THE BLINK FESTIVAL. OCTOBER 12-15, 2017

October 29th, 2017  |  Published in October 2017

“It is a playful analogy to the artist community since it implies the inevitable incorporation of the avant garde into mainstream culture. We creatives are the Aequi.” ?from the Aeqai “about-us” page.

“All that once was directly lived has become mere representation.”
Guy Debord, ”The Society of the Spectacle”

“your golden hair Margareta
your ashen hair Shulamite”
Paul Celan “Death Fugue”.

0. Somewhere, Over the Rhinegold…

A TAIL OF BINARY CITIES, Cincinnati ? Once upon a dirty old rinds-end of Ourtown, a strange and withered fruit grew from a twisted avenue Vine. The great unwashed masses languished there, hovelled on the bulkheads of a crumbling historical gem —a simple vernacular, a muted Greek Revival, Italianate and Titanic Queen Anne all fatale-laced up with fleeing rats gnawing at artisanal German shepherds sunk by the crags of many a “recycled” ice blu-UBenz.

“Wait for D’ Valkyrie”, the owners whispered amongst themselves, a pure clean heroine, that horse in shining amour risen from the ash-heap of Heisea-story to vanquish the unwanted with a sword as thin as needles gone yarn-bombing. In short, an especially Teutonically tectonic plate seamed with the curves of a precious maidenhead buried deep beneath the detritus. Virgin Geld ‘by god…a veritable Durer-essed Queen City enduring in the rough, runneth over with noir, crime and profli-gators… a pimped out Lorelei with the cosmetic facades all cracked up by disregard and neglect. Move along now Mr. and Mrs. Dispossessed. Move along to a kinder, gentler gentro-fictation we hereby rebrand as the “Alt-Ghetto”.

From the crags and canyons of this great dilapidation, Sirens wailed in the night, beckoning the Illuminaughty away from their hieros gamos hazing-fest. Annoyed and distracted from their biz-ness, they gazed down from aloft their Edenically P&C high-towers to witness such distasteful and unseemly riots, riots burning bright…”Did he who made the Lamb make thee!?” Time for an extreme macht-over, a clean fresh coat of white cubes and media born of light and 3C/ AC/ DC catholitic convertors. Brightly stained colors shall rayn down and trickle golden showers upon all those dank pee-yews, they decreed:

“We hereby conscript the Papacy of Paint! The Avant-Gawd. The landed gentry-fication. The Prom King and Queen of Creatives. Bring the Academy down from the ivory tower upon the hill and crash land it in the untenable, like a stealth bombshell of beautification wrapped in Pop Neon Art! Our Madonna of Merrilyn Mon-row, row, row, your booty gently down the drain, bleach, bleach, bleach the soot, and platinum all wet-dreams. A Freudian supranormal abstraction shall be writ large on the ceilinged sky filled with lines and circles fornicating. A twenty football stadium-sized Sistine Chapel full of No Judgments for the Palace of Justice, a thousand points of LED-lit billboards!”

Move along Mr. and Mrs. Dispossessed. Move along…we’ve got a
Renaissance – Lite to run here!
Here’s the last trolley to the Alt-Ghetto, Mam. Artwork shall make you pretty…
The mural of this story? Don’t always get blinkered by just beauty.
Art should rarely be a binary bit of coin.

0.1. Gaudi versus Gaudy (aka The Eleusinian Miseries).

“One thing is sure: the Sagrada Familia is the first Catholic temple whose bacon was ever saved by Shinto tourism. Not even Gaudi, who believed in miracles, could have foreseen that.” ?Robert Hughes

“Flesh colored Christs that glow in the dark” ?Robert Zimmerman

 

Logistically, financially security-wise, etc., etc… by any measure really, Blink was an unmitigated success without question. No question. I won’t question. Well a few maybe…there should always be questions. Really uncomfortable ones sometimes. Many for which I don’t know the answers to at current deadline.

The most obvious question: does a problem, or a group of people in this case, really go away if you just wallpaper over them with a thousand points of light and coats of paint, basically forcing them out of sight, out of mind?

We all know the tragic recent history of OTR, “pre-renaissance” so to speak. Did this festival address this history or just act as the crowning achievement of the Queen City’s cleansing? Of course, this was never the Festival’s intention (I guess) and public art has severe restrictions on what it can address. Maybe I just plain missed the more political projections; it’s quite possible, even in a time when you can scour social media to find permanent documentation for such a temporal event. I couldn’t see every piece. I leave that up to crowd-sourcing.

To be totally transparent I only really made it through the Washington Park part of the festival and a bit of the part over by the Art Academy anyhow. I’m not really big on crowds or the mentality that often goes along with them.

While walking as much as I could of the BLINK festival though, over the two of the four nights I could make the event, I all-the-while kicked myself for missing all the application deadlines to be involved. Still I couldn’t help but think “to blink or not to blink” … that’s the question, I guess (?).

Of course any “New Media”, installation or video artist worth their salt or ever even used a projector would want to be part of this event, right? It’s a sorely needed outlet for an art form that, I feel at least, has been sorely undermisrepresented in the Nati…up till now of course…

Blink was like the High School Prom, plus a massive Fraternity/ Sorority hazing/ Foodie/ Yipster lottery on steroids Light Festival all rolled into one, all in my own back yard and I didn’t even get a date…or a ticket to participate -as an artist at least. Well maybe next year…if there is one. Maybe all this questioning just stems from a feeling of being “left out” or left behind as the case may be. Maybe I’m just a hater. Maybe I’m not worth my own salt…you can see where this feeling of being “left out” might lead for all “the salt of the earth” types who might not appreciate artisanal salt. It practically salts the earth.

As a viewer though, who didn’t need a ticket, I was ecstatically overwhelmed by the carnevalesque family friendly eye-candy of Blink. As a “critiquer-at-large”, I worry about the nutritional value of candy, especially if that’s all you’re offered in the middle of a food desert…but then again I haven’t burned my passport out of the wasteland yet.

0.1.0. The Off Blink Festival at The Portal Gallery (A Video Review).

“For you know only a heap of broken images”
T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land

“The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude.”
Oprah Winfrey

“There is nothing more mysterious than a TV set left on in an empty room.”
Jean Baudrillard

 

–Regan Brown

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