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"Dark Matters: Artists See the Impossible" pictures black ops, hidden cops, and shadow streams of puzzling information

One is set to grab anything beginning with "I love" or "I like." It's harder to determine the organizing principle of the other movements, but the very public exposition of very private conversations is discomfiting. And absorbing — all those desires scrolling by. And you thought you were the only one!

Did you know that there is no alpha leader in a flight of birds? What really occurs is democracy: when just over half of the birds begin to tilt in one direction, the rest follow. I saw that on the Internet somewhere. Richard Barnes, Charles Mason, and Alex Schweder were all in Rome, hanging out and making art. Unbeknownst to the others, each of them became fascinated with the mass starling convergence at Esposizione Universale di Roma. Murmurs (2006) consists of Barnes's photography, Mason's sound, and Schweder's video. Starlings have binocular vision. Who knew?

Left on its own, information will eventually organize itself. What remains is the question of credibility. One of the things I named in the first paragraph is not found in the exhibition. Or maybe two. *


Through Nov. 11

Tues.–Wed. and Fri.–Sun., noon–5 p.m.; Thurs., noon–8 p.m.

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

701 Mission, SF

$3–$6 (free first Tues.)

(415) 978-ARTS

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