Greylock Arts Features The Art of Todd Holoubek
In Holoubek's World Time Is For The Cows and Everybody Wins
By: Matthew Belanger - Jan 16, 2008
For Greylock Arts first exhibit of 2008, "Everybody Wins (Hoora!, Hoora!, Hoora!)", opening reception on Friday January 18th from 5:30pm - 8:30pm and open Saturdays 1pm - 4pm through February 29th, we feature the work of Manhattan based interactive artist, performer, and inventor Todd Holoubek. Holoubek's work draws upon his eclectic background, broad sense of humor, and zen-like sense of aesthetic. Holoubek's past and present includes farming, work in retail and construction, a successful career in theater and television, interactive design, and university teaching. Holoubek is a graduate of New York University's Tisch School of Drama as well as the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP). He was a principle actor, writer, and producer for MTV's You Wrote It You Watch It. He was also a founding member, writer, and actor on The State, a sketch-comedy troupe, also featured on MTV in the early 90's.
Holoubek was an easy choice for our latest exhibit because he is a prolific artist experimenting with human perceptions and interactions. His work is at the same time playful, thought provoking, and exquisitely crafted. When visitors enter Greylock Arts for this exhibit they are in a sense entering the world and mind of the artist.
I was first exposed to Holoubek's art when I began attending ITP in 2001, a year after Holoubek also began study there. I encountered his unique video installation, "Smart Guy Box", setup in the hall one day. Upon looking into the box, the unwitting participant is presented with a small video monitor showing them-self from behind. Artificial events are insertied into the video feed creating a believable experience. The participant reacts by quickly turning around to see what is happening behind them to find nothing. The Smart Guy Box exploits the half second that passes between an event and our awareness of that event.
Holoubek's recent works, which include beautiful light sculptures, whimsical puzzles, and mischievous interactive works, will be the focus of this exhibit. "The Affirmation Machine" is a work of art with a back-story. It is a modern technical marvel circa 1896, conceived and produced by a Fredrico Albertina in a small village outside what is now known as Paris. With the press of a button, the lid's hypnowheel rotates and a sirens' song of affirmation arises from the wooden box. In fact, most of Holoubek's work has a significant and often bizarre story attached to it's origins.
"Sun Mural" is a 12' x 12' mosaic comprised of ink-jet prints of the first image Holoubek ever downloaded from the internet. Holoubek has divided the image into a grid and suspended the prints from wire lines strung across a wood frame. Lit from behind, Holoubek has transformed what is otherwise just a found clip-art image, into a sacred symbol of the early days of the net, ready to be worshiped as a sun god.
"Car Seats" is an installation of four car seats, not baby seats, but the actual car seats themselves, that have large rubber wheels attached directly to them. People are encouraged to sit and scoot around as if they were in a one person car. We may end up with gridlock in our gallery. When describing this work over the phone to me Holoubek said with a wry chuckle, "The wheels say, Not for highway use on them." Indeed, it's as if the manufacturer knew Holoubek was going to attach these wheels directly to car seats. Holoubek ended up with extra car seats when all of his car's seats were stolen from his parked car. He tried to get replacements from a salvage yard, but ended up with seats that wouldn't fit. The extra seats have been sitting in his living room ever since waiting to be incorporated into some kind of project.
The interactive sculpture, "Light Garden", was inspired by the magnificent gardens of Holoubek's childhood in Ixonia Wisconsin. He grew surrounded by gardens filled with pumpkins, raspberries, peas, tomatoes, and peppers. In this work he has combined the gardens of his youth with the idea of the Japanese rock garden. Soil has been replaced with light as the viewer recreates the constant vibrant change of color by tending to the garden with the supplied tools.
Another work, "Fibonacci Pole", is a light sculpture that uses the Fibonacci Number System to generate the timing of the lights. Lights are spaced according the first few digits of the number system and cross fade according to the same set causing the light to bounce up and down the pole in mesmerizing patterns.
The "Meat Clocks" are a series of three analog wall clocks overlaying familiar clock numbers with structures mapping U.S. and British cuts of beef as well as sacred Hindu portions of the cow. The clocks represent time in New York, London, and New Delhi. By remapping units of time to cuts of beef Holoubek plays with our cultural sense of what time means.
The work for which the exhibit is named, "Everbody Wins (Hoora!, Hoora!, Hoora!)", is a series of tile games where the lines stay continuous regardless of where a tiles are moved. The designs on the tiles were created using generative methods, symmetry, and simple compositional rules. With the pressure of winning removed, all the viewer has to do is play the game.