Learning new things can be part of the joy of going to a museum. I was familiar with the responsibilities of the audio person credited as the Folley Artist but never knew it was in recognition of an individual. At the Comedy Center in Jamestown, NY I learned a little bit about this man that made a very significant contribution to many forms of entertainment. Why did none of the great audio engineers I worked with never tell me that? Naturally there is a “boom shadow” in my frame. A few will understand.
Anybody that knows me is aware I’m not a big fan of comedy. I only saw Blazing Saddles after it was listed in the top 100 films of last century. I do however understand & appreciate the role of comedy in entertainment, culture & history so going to the new Comedy Center was something I was looking forward to. A significant foundation of this museum is the contribution of George Carlin’s archive given by his daughter Kelly. The advisory board is represented by both well know active comedians as well as “seasoned” multi-disciplined performers & their families.
All aspects of comedy from stand-up to cartoon strips & every media in between is well represented. As a child of the 60’s the TV room was one of my favorite displays. As with many of the exhibits your “personalized chip” on your wristband helps create a customized presentation to genre or comedian. Most multi-screen programs I have seen are filled with visual clutter. At the Comedy Center it is very well programed. Dave Taylor…you need to see this. The only disappointment was in the holographic presentation. With refinements it may become better. For now it seems to be a presentation medium in it’s infancy.
I know & respect that Chautauqua County, where this is located, has a conservative population. I was curious as to how they would handle the profanity component of comedy. They choose a simple but effective solution called the “Blue Room”. If you are offended by words don’t go in. I learned of a connection between Carlin & Lenny Bruce I wasn’t aware of. In a photo of Bruce being arrested you see Carlin in the background also being arrested. In this photo from the Blue Room, notice the speaker in the parabolic dome hanging from the ceiling. It is focusing the audio for the viewers in front of the screen while reducing the “audio clutter”. VERY WELL done! The attention to visual & audio details throughout the center is some of the best I’ve ever seen.
It is amazing that one individual can have such a significant impact in a way few could ever imagine. The seed of an idea to honor a local celebrity has grown into a world-class memorial to her craft. It began with a collection of memorabilia of one of the most significant & powerful entertainment couples in television at the Lucy & Desi Museum. Now, at the National Comedy Center a few blocks away, are archived some of the most influential, & funny, materials from generations of “A List” comedians that make us laugh by looking at our world thru different glasses.
The ARTECHOUSE in DC was showing an “Immersive, Interactive Installation” which blended projected digital art with motion sensors. The lighting environment was superb for the primary room while the dominate images of Cherry Blossoms by Sukura Yume floated on the walls. The sensitivity of the sensors allowed visitors to interact with the floating flowers causing mostly subtle changes in the displays. The centered calligraphy display by Aoi Yamaguchi, was an intriguing component that provided a static dimension to the flowing relaxing space. The soundtrack of the room was done by Debrina.
This young lady was demonstration the most effective way to interact with the artwork. In a position where the motion sensors could easily detect her she was slowly moving using broad gestures that resembled a yoga routine. Her connection to the art was in a very personal space. To describe the room to people of my generation it was like taking a journey on The Yellow Submarine thru a bowl of cereal made by Peter Max while listening to an 8 Track of Ravi Shankar.
The Koi Pie 3D sculpture by Nathan Solomon & Karan Parikh was created using computer controlled machines then primed & painted with special video screen paint to display detailed projections. The real time interaction with this smaller dynamic sculpture with fine detail brought art into a more intimate space.
Bloom by Story Lab was my favorite piece. It did not have any pre-developed background. The table was a clean canvas where only the movements of the people were used to create splashes of color. With no disrespect to the artists it was like finger painting without any of the mess. Here at ARTECHOUSE & at The National Comedy Center I found examples of why I love digital. The interaction of storytelling, technology & art can inspire even an old-school visitor.