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Wall Work II: Dror Daum, Dead Leds

Special Exhibit
May 1, 2012-September 1, 2012
Location: Aaron Levy Hall
Artist: Dror Daum
Curator: Amitai Mendelsohn
Media: Video
Dror Daum filmed segments of large electronic billboards mounted in central locations around the country. The billboards are composed of thousands of minuscule LED bulbs that go on and off at set intervals, producing darting images. Daum zoomed in on the non-operative, “eclipsed” areas of the billboard, enlarging those islands of black spots tenfold until he obtained an abstract, geometric video work reminiscent of a grid, bearing no trace of the billboard’s original content. By performing such an extreme zooming in on the billboard and exposing its technological underpinnings, Daum undermines its advertising message, since the object of the advertisement – the commercial product – disappears entirely from view. The focused picture that was intended to catch the eye and arouse the senses is replaced by an erratic, flawed, arbitrary image. Yet the impressive play of flickering lights and the sheer size of the projected image – as large as a billboard – are no less eye-catching than the original picture, creating a different kind of spectacle. The darting spots of colored light recall the works of the Pointillists in the late 19th century, on view in the adjacent Impressionist gallery. These artists explored the phenomenon of visual perception and sought to recreate the landscape by deconstructing it into small dots of color. Like them, Daum’s work examines the infrastructure of color from which images are formed; in contrast with them, however,Daum uses this deconstructing process to emphasize the faults and flaws that underlie the image.