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2013: A Space Oddity

2013: A Space Oddity
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Beradino - computer componets “Computer Components” by  Mike Beradino

By Michael Pennywark

As I sat here and contemplated my plans to celebrate Free Press Houston’s 10th anniversary, I began to wonder what the next 10 years would hold. Will we be sending people to Mars? Will a woman be elected president? Will people ever quit dancing Gangnam Style? (Let’s not even get into the Harlem Shake). And most importantly, will we finally have cool laser guns like in ‘Star Wars’ or ‘Star Trek’? While I was musing over whether I would prefer the more intimidating ‘Storm Trooper’ blaster or the more practical and compact standard issue-phaser, I came across an artist after my own heart.

On March 15th, the Lawndale Art Center will hold an opening for five new exhibitions, one of which will feature, you guessed it, lasers! Mike Beradino’s ‘Crystal Palace’ will feature a custom-built green channel laser that will embed an image onto a wall that has been painted with glow-in-the-dark paint. What more could you want from art? How about robots? Yep, there will also be a flying surveillance platform that will interpret data and create a graphical representation of the space within the installation, which will be sent to the laser for its next drawing.

FPH tracked Beradino down and asked him a bunch of questions about the project and whether he might be creating an army of laser-wielding robots to take over the world. First of all, though, I needed to know about the title of his installation, ‘Crystal Palace.’ According to Beradino, Crystal Palace is a reference to the classic Matthew Broderick ‘80s flick, ‘War Games’—it was the NORAD bunker where the supercomputer WOPR was kept.

He added that “the crystal in the title also touches on the realm of the mystical or metaphysical. Often cutting-edge technology can appear mysterious. The installation also has surveillance components embedded into it. I feel the word palace conveys a relationship of power and structure that are at play in the installation through the use of surveillance and technology.”

Talking to Beradino about the relationship between his work and evolving technology, he explained, “My work deals with technology as a medium. I specifically use digital technology as a self-referential tool to explore its effects on contemporary culture.” As for the laser-wielding army of robots, he agreed with me, “Lasers are cool. I built a

real-life laser gun from trash as one piece–that was neat. In some of my early work, I used some lasers as dot matrices displays. However I am not really a laser guy. I am learning as I go with this project.”

Now if lasers aren’t really your thing, you have flashbacks of a bad trip you had at a rave every time you hear the word, or you’re just not sure you can commit to an exhibition that will be there for a few weeks, then ‘Made In Iran’ might be right for you. ‘Made In Iran’ is a 24-hour art exhibition at Aerosol Warfare on Thursday, March 14th featuring Iranian street artists, ICY and SOT, along with Iranian post-punk band, Yellow Dogs. With new stencil works and site-specific installations, the exhibition traverses preconceived perceptions of traditional Iranian art and reflects the struggle for creative visual expression that Iranian artists still face today.

Utilizing Western street art approaches, ICY and SOT’s art explores binary oppositions such as love and hate, war and peace, and hope and despair. What they lack in robots and lasers, they make up for in a style that encapsulates both the elegance of traditional Iranian art and the raw underground energy of the streets.

Made In Iran – ICY and SOT w/ Yellow Dogs
Aerosol Warfare
March 14th-15th
Opening reception: Thursday, March 14th @ 6 p.m. with live performance by Yellow Dogs
Friday, March 15th viewing hours 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Crystal Palace – Mike Beradino
Lawndale Art Center
March 15th – April 20th
Opening reception: Friday, March 15th from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. (Artist talks @ 6 p.m.)

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