Super Shout Out: Tommy Becker
Anyone who reads my blog (wait, is anyone reading my blog? with the idol project I checked my stats obsessively, but with these blogger sites, I'm not sure I can--please, if you're reading, send me a love letter, some hatemail, anything to let me know you exist. If a blog falls in the woods and nobody.....) Starting over, it's no surprise that I'm a fan of Tommy Becker. He's a great artist and a great person and he's just earned the first two-time shout out on this blog! Yesterday he came to speak to my class of 18 Berkeley sophomores, none of whom are artists or art history majors. I think it's safe to guess that he's the first artist many of them have ever met and I think it's also safe to say that he blew their minds--or at least confused them in an exciting way... He showed a number of his videos, presenting their usual monologues live, sort of like he does in this video. Mind you, he did this at 8am on a morning they had a paper due, while we were all crammed into a lovely but tiny classroom on the top floor of the poshest library on campus. But the fun didn't stop there. He also distributed felt gloves with scripts inside of them and had each student (and me!) don the gloves and act out the scripts, in unison, kind of like you see here. If it didn't make them think about authorship, performance, genre, word-image relationships, or any of the other exciting themes of our class, perhaps it provided them with one of the few Tuesday mornings they'll remember five years from now, when they are wheeling and dealing Berkeley grads or deeply entrenched in finishing their PhDs in biochemistry... Tommy wrapped-up by giving an excellent talk about his process, as an artist. Though I've been talking to him about his work for five years, I came to see it in a new way, and I saw the confused looks on at least some of my students' faces melt into smiles and nods by 9:30. It was actually a pretty profound morning. Thanks, Tommy!
Update: I wrote this article about Tommy Becker's audio installation at Art in General a few weeks ago, but I just found a free slot to run it on Net Art News. Here it is.