BRATTLEBORO -- On Friday, the Center for Digital Art will host an exhibition and talk by New York digital artist Matthew Ostrowski. The exhibition will remain on view through Saturday.
Ostrowski is a video/audio installation artist, electronic music composer and software developer. Working primarily with the software Max/Jitter and his own handmade electronic controllers and motion sensors, Ostrowski has turned body movement into sound and spoken words into visual projections.
Pioneering such techniques has brought Ostrowski into collaborations with Laurie Anderson, Elizabeth Streb, Bill T. Jones, Martha Rosler and Christopher Janney, among others. In his more recent work -- which is the focus of the CDA exhibition -- Ostrowski appropriates scenes from Hollywood films and uses computer algorithms to distort and desynchronize their linear, narrative trajectories to create a new order of visual and sonic information.
One such piece is Ostrowski’s newest work "The Unraveling" (2013), a "reprocessing" of Alfred Hitchcock’s "Rope" (1948), the cinema landmark known for having been filmed in only eight extended takes. Each on its own monitor, "The Unraveling" reinterprets each of the eight takes from "Rope" through the "slitscan" technique: a digital effect which smears the action of a scene across the horizontal axis of the monitor. Images twist together as successive fragments of the scene overlap each other in wave after wave. Thus "Rope -- a masterpiece of formal storytelling -- is subjected to an ironic treatment as each scene unfolds in a fashion more suited to Picasso than Hitchcock.
Another piece featured is "Scarlet(t)" (2011), a critique on sexual politics in cinema focusing on the 2003 film "Girl With A Pearl Earring," starring Scarlett Johansson. Ostrowski created a tracking algorithm to pull Johansson’s lips from each scene and rearrange this imagery in different forms that obscure the other elements of the film. The result is that the objectification of the female star is brought to the forefront and laid bare, rather than lying latent within a narrative that -- arguably -- is banking on Johansson’s sex appeal to attract an audience.
In addition to PS1, Roulette and The Kitchen in New York, Ostrowski’s work has been seen at the Wein Modern Festival in Vienna, the Krakow Audio Art Festival, Sonic Acts in Amsterdam, the Melbourne Festival, and Unyazi -- the first ever festival of electronic music on the African continent.
The exhibition will be open on Friday from 7 to 11 p.m. The artist talk will take place from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday. The exhibition will remain open to the public from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., on Saturday. Admission is free.
Refreshments will be served. The Center for Digital Art is located on the third floor of the Cotton Mill. Facilities are handicapped-accessible.
The Center for Digital Art is a nonprofit resource center and studio/performance space dedicated to promoting experimental media, digital art and video/filmmaking in Southern Vermont. For more information on this event and others at CDA, visit www.centerfordigitalart.com.