Lindsey Apodaca set up the world's most misanthropic black-lit bedroom inside a U-Haul truck parked in the former BMW dealership warehouse. (It was called Are You Afraid of the Dark? In this case, I was.) At the other end of the building, flesh was being cut. People were getting stick-and-poke tattoos of flash by local artists (the performance was called Burning Sensation, and it was by MKNZ and Ross Laing).
But Onn/Of felt as sweet as sour to me. Izzie Klingels painted a rainbow crackle design on my thumb fingernail, and told me of her nail blog The Other Hand ("I can only paint the nails of my left hand").Japanese film whose title translates to "The Fire Within") and Klara Glosova (In watermelon sugar the deeds were done and done again as my life is done in watermelon sugar, referring to Richard Brautigan). They were made of ceramic blobs that shone like multicolored ice cream and cast sugar that beamed like wax.
I kept returning for another hit of Graham Downing's tall, chimney-like column, which stretched almost to the ceiling. You could go inside it. The column was made of corrugated paper printed to look like a stone wall, but the paper was wrapped loosely and lumpily, so that standing in there felt more like being in a homemade sausage. On the ceiling, there was a reward: a projection of starry sky, sparkling blue and green. My third or fourth time inside, I noticed there were pennies on the ground, where I stood on a base of packed soil and leaves—I was in a dried-up wishing well. I do not know why it was titled Any Violations of Personal or Group Commitments?
The Northwest Sunburn Company, a booth where PDL performed as huckster salesmen hawking sunshine, reminded me of the weird way that rain just seems more authentic than sun sometimes.
One room mesmerized me: Space Weather Listening Booth. It was tiny. You went inside and heard a flutist sitting on a stool with a score in front of her perform live for one minute. Her flute was interacting with a prerecorded electronic composition by Nat Evans and John Teske. It was based on the Aurora Borealis. The sound filled my body completely. The person I went in with said twice: "That stopped time."
Tivon Rice also got me. His installation was complex and technological, like his installations always are. But it was also simple. It reminded me of an installation I saw a few years ago at the Luxembourg Pavilion of the Venice Biennale, where an artist haunted a series of rooms in an old palazzo with implied memories by using only mirrors, shadows, lights, the windows, and the overhead fans spinning. Rice's piece flashed and twinkled and I didn't need to know how it worked to feel its effects, although later I liked finding out that the transparent plastic rods dangling down (they kind of looked like falling rain captured by some superpowered camera) were triggering the sounds I heard when the light from the slowly rotating mirrored windows hit them. There's a video, so here it is below—and there are lots more rainbow-brite pictures of Onn/Of on the jump.