Contemporary Reactions: MISSILEBLOWER (And the Selected Good)

MissileblowerUsually when the weather is damp and dark, people tend to gravitate toward indoor entertainment. Luckily for us on a rainy Tuesday evening, Steve Talbert did just that. The local Californian—in town visiting an old friend—decided to visit UMOCA, and after touring the museum, he had some interesting thoughts to share.

As we discussed the exhibitions, Talbert spoke of the recurring themes of surveillance that are so prevalent in UMOCA’s Main Gallery exhibition, Panopticon. The piece that truly caught his attention, however, was local artist Brian Charles Patterson’s film installation, Missileblower (And the Selected Good).

Missileblower combines documentary-style footage with a guided meditation. As viewers sit on floor pillows in the darkened Codec Gallery, they become immersed in Missileblower’s tranquil qualities. There are screens on each side of the room—two with images of monkeys, one with altered surveillance footage, and the largest with a series of footage and a calming—yet unsettling—voice over. The exhibition plays with opposing themes, juxtaposing ideas of serenity and chaos, affluence and scarcity, and so on. Overall, the film compels viewers the possibility of a dystopian future.

Missileblower became a favorite of Talbert’s, due to the exhibition’s ambiguity. In his opinion, although it is clear that the artist is making a statement in the installation, the film doesn’t necessarily “preach” a certain meaning. Rather, the meaning was left to the spectator to develop for him or herself.

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For Talbert, the video seemed to be a comment on environmental issues. He also thought that, although the video gave off “cynical and moody vibes,” it didn’t necessarily disrupt the viewer, but only evoked further interest. Overall, what Talbert enjoyed most about this work of art was its ability to allow the viewer an independent interpretation, as opposed to forcing a message. He concluded our discussion by giving a small piece of advice to those who may visit UMOCA in the future: “You must watch Patterson’s video through, multiple times, in order to obtain full understanding and develop meaning.”

Written by Emma Siddoway

Missileblower (And the Selected Good) will be on exhibition in UMOCA’s Codec Gallery through June 20.
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