Two video exhibits evoking a range of emotions and, in one case, calling on audience participation are on display at Sheila and Eric Samson Pavilion at the Health Education Campus of Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic as part of FRONT International, a citywide triennial celebration of contemporary art.
This year’s free, public exhibition, Oh, Gods of Dust and Rainbows, runs through Oct. 2 and features artist commissions, performances, films and public programs across Cleveland, Akron and Oberlin. Case Western Reserve is a presenting sponsor of the second triennial event.
At Samson Pavilion—a space central to the university’s dental, medical, nursing, physician assistant and social work programs—two video installations tell stories of loss and healing.
Co-commissioned by Yokohama Triennale and Bildmuseet Umea and presented with support from the Putnam Fund of Case Western Reserve, Naeem Mohaiemen’s hour-long feature film, Jole Dobe Na (Those Who Do Not Drown), follows a young couple through the hollowed-out spaces of an abandoned hospital. Shot in sepia tones, the film, according to organizers, “is a melancholic meditation on loss, grief, and end-of-life care…(and) repurposes liminal architecture as a setting for an examination of the complex psychic life of a figure trapped in limbo).”
The second installation, by artist Wong Kit Yi, presents a karaoke-style video featuring an essay film incorporating the artist’s songs, that encourages audience sing-alongs through the inclusion of running subtitles. The work, according to organizers, “explores the links between subjects as disparate as ancient Egyptian practices of dream interpretation; jiāngshī (Chinese hopping vampires); and the first voice-box transplant, which took place at Cleveland Clinic in 1998.
Both exhibits are open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Oct. 2.
In addition to the exhibits at Samson Pavilion, on Sept. 16–17, the university is co-sponsoring a two-day discussion of how museums can better reflect and serve the needs of their communities. Presented by CWRU and the Cleveland Museum of Art with support from the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities, Nancy and Joseph Keithley, and Friends of Art, the first day of The Art Futures Forum, The Cleveland Symposium, will be led by graduate students of the Department of Art History and Art of Case Western Reserve University Joint Program with the Cleveland Museum of Art.
The day will feature presentations by graduate students from across the country focused on reevaluating and redefining the scope of art history.
The second day will feature panel discussions and workshops focused on how museums can better share stories of creative expression and consider new models to serve and empower the community. Registration for both events is free and open to the public at frontart.org.
FRONT International’s inaugural event in 2018, An American City, featured Judy’s Hand Pavilion, a 25-foot-tall fiberglass and concrete hand, created by artist Tony Tasset. The sculpture is displayed at Toby’s Plaza on the CWRU campus near the intersection of Euclid and Mayfield Roads.
The 2018 event generated over 90,000 visitors from more than 25 countries and, according to organizers, brought $31 million in new economic activity to the region.