The Blurred and Beautiful: Cellphone Art Celebrated

Arts & Humanities Professors Organize ‘Realtime:08’ Video Exhibit

Feb. 26, 2008

Some images are jerky, unfocused or pixilated to the point of obscurity. But despite their limitations, the videos fascinate in ways others cannot.

Welcome to "Realtime:08," an exhibit of video art created on cellphones.

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The exhibit is sponsored in part by the UT Dallas MobileLab and the UT Dallas Arts & Technology program. The exhibit at The Dallas Contemporary was curated by Dean Terry, associate professor of aesthetic studies, with John Pomara, associate professor, both of the School of Arts and Humanities.

“The art of the mobile phone is the art of the hurried, the time-starved, the always on” Terry says in an exhibit statement. “It is the art of waiting in lines, sitting in traffic, and mind-numbing meetings. It is the art of the exhausted, overworked American. It is the art of the pressured moment.”

Artists in the exhibit use their mobile phones to make videos each day, then send them to The Dallas Contemporary museum. The work in the exhibition changes daily and may be only moments old when first seen by viewers.

“The work is sent like a text message or an e-mail with a video attachment from the device,” Terry says. “Most entries will take the artist less than a minute to compose and send, and each message is also delivered to an exhibition Web site.”

In another UT Dallas connection,the exhibit features inter.sect, a mobile art group led by Arts & Technology doctoral candidate Christi Nielsen and featuring several ATEC graduate students.

“The mobile phone is the one device we have with us in these moments, and precisely because of its restrictiveness, it is ideally suited as an art machine,” Terry says. “Its products are the 140-character SMS message, the 15-second video, the grainy blur of a 640 x 480 cameraphone image. These are the microexpressions of the metatasker. Microart is about the composite and sequential effect of a large number of small bits that create a stream rather than fewer, individual substantive statements.”

The exhibit is also sponsored by Apple and Samsung.

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Images from the Real Time exhibit Web page
The Realtime:08 show opened Feb. 15 at The Dallas Contemporary. Works are also being shown on the exhibit’s Web site.
Video art by Marisa Olson
Marisa Olson’s videos make repeated use of handwritten signs.
Kirsten Macy’s work explores celebrity imagery and more.

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April 23, 2018