Sunday, May 16, 2010

Be Kind Rewind

Michel Gondry

Mos Def and Jack Black play childhood friends who must recreate popular films after accidentally erasing the VHS copies belonging to a video store. Using found objects and everyday materials, Ghost Busters, Driving Miss Daisy, and Rush Hour are given new life as live-action dioramas. Think Wes Anderson meets Ed Wood. Above, Mos Def's character provides sound effects for a martial arts fight scene*. The play mat beside him is used in a scene to appear suspended from a tall building.

Director Michele Gondry is behind repurposing the turntable, play mat and, if you'll forgive my last spoiler, tinsel. The brilliance of tinsel is no longer attributed to foil.

In Be Kind Rewind, the exhibition at Deitch Projects in NYC**, Gondry reinstalled the video store from the film in the gallery, along with other sets. Inviting visitors to re/create their own movies, Gondry's message in the film -- to participate freely and actively in one's own entertainment -- echoed into the present; this, perhaps, is a nod to relational and performance art and participatory exhibitions. More importantly, the familiarity of the sets built in the gallery (café, office, waiting room, junkyard, etc.) were further encouragement for visitors to examine their everyday scenery and objects as materials.

*This reminds me of Oliver Laric's Kung Fu Percussion, which I love, but can't find on the artist's website anymore.

**Deitch Projects will close permanently this summer. The current exhibition by Shepard Fairey, which is the gallery's last, closes at the end of this month.