Ministerial Muses—2.25.2018

Posted February 25th, 2018 by anna and filed in Manatee County, FL, Ministerial Muses
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When I read the advance materials about the Toni Dove exhibit at The Ringling Museum, I didn’t have a clue what it was going to be. Interactive they said. I expected to wave my hand at a machine and see it projected a dozen times on the walls around me. But The Ringling’s seven-year Art of Our Time initiative, spearheaded by Steven High, has been producing spectacular, don’t-miss exhibits, so I put it on my calendar.

My friend Bernie and I arrived at the Member’s Preview yesterday in time to hear the last half of curator Matthew McLendon’s talk about the exhibit. “I encourage you to read the written material on the walls,” he said. “I’ll be wandering through the exhibit in case you have any questions.” Bernie and I decided to have a cup of coffee and a cinnamon bun before we ventured into the galleries. Once we finally moved to the exhibit, we were drawn into a world that was as mesmerizing as it was confusing. We quickly found ourselves in a small room with a light-up mat on the floor and images being projected on the wall. I waited my turn as instructed by the mat. When the mat gave me permission to move forward, I discovered that the mat has three different stations. When you stand on one of the stations, it lights up and the image on the screen changes. I was moving back and forth on the mat when Matthew McLendon popped in and told me that if I waved my arms, the image would be altered. I expected to see my motions projected back to me (mind sets are difficult things to let go of). Matthew explained that the piece didn’t reflect my motions, my motions changed the image that was being displayed. I was “manipulating” the image. “A five-year-old would understand this right away,” I thought.

Not long after that Bernie and I wandered into another darkened room just as Dove’s Spectropia was beginning. There were benches so we sat down. An hour and fifteen minutes later, we emerged from the room. We had seen the future. Spectropia is best described as Last Year in Marienbad meets Steampunk in a mother board someplace in Japan. What we saw turned out to be a recording of a live, interactive performance of the piece. Like disc jockeys manipulate recordings to create their own sound performances, Dove manipulates recorded imagery and sound to create ever changing versions of her visual works.

Slowly, it was all beginning to make a little sense. It’s a lot to take in in one day but two things stood out amidst the cutting-edge technology: there are highly creative intellectual threads running through Dove’s work, and the imagery, though strange, is exquisitely crafted.

Spectropia will be presented live by Toni Dove in the courtyard at The Ringling on March 9. She will present her other major work, Lucid Possession, in the Historic Asolo Theatre on April 13 and 14. Bernie and I already have tickets.

© 2018 Anna Jedrziewski and Spirit Connection New York, Inc.

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