Occupational hazards - Page 2

Geof Oppenheimer's politically charged new show at Ratio 3 juxtaposes polyphony with cacophany

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Detail of still from "Anthems" (2011), video work by Geof Oppenheimer
COURTESY OF RATIO 3 GALLERY

These stranded phrases are, in fact, excerpts from interviews with political figures such as Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, Fidel Castro and Robert McNamara, in which they discuss moments when their ideologies resulted in policy failure, something which Oppenheimer's photographs formally restage by transforming these confessional moments into incomplete sound bytes.

The opposite tack is used to achieve similarly disorienting results in Anthems, a four minute high definition video, which superimposes footage of a military marching band playing four different national anthems while in formation. The resulting wall of sound renders the pieces indistinguishable from each other, while, visually, the rapidly overlaid footage scrambles the patterned order of military spectacle.

Politically, a lot can happen when polyphony gives way to cacophony (or in the case of Social Failure and Black Signs when signal becomes noise). But the result can also just be chaos. As an ongoing experiment in the messy business of building a participatory democracy with its share of successful and failed words and deeds, the Occupy movement is a living, ever-expanding testament to this. And despite being presented under a title full of Freudian dramatics, so are the pieces in Inside Us.

GEOF OPPENHEIMER: INSIDE US ALL THERE IS A PART THAT WOULD LIKE TO BURN DOWN OUR OWN HOUSE

Through December 10

Ratio 3

1447 Stevenson, SF.

(415) 821-3371

www.ratio3.org

 

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