UCLA

BioTech 177


Week 7 - Gil Kuno - Pooya Banapour

Posted on May 15, 2009 by pooya


When I first had a chance to see Gil Kuno’s work in class, I was a little bit shocked. His works of art were not anywhere near what I was used to seeing so I was a bit caught off guard at first. After I learned a little more about him, saw his exhibition, and learned about his artistic goals, I realized that his representations are revolutionary, pioneering, and very anti-paradigmatic. The first exhibition that surprised me was the ant farm exhibition. Kuno worked with Professor Gimzewski to record and amplify the sounds of a colony of ants. He then projected the sounds and simultaneously played them to a “giant ant farm” exhibition in front of people. I see this work as very nonconformist and very anti-paradigmatic because of many reasons. First of all, Kuno made it clear that it was not him dictating what nature (the ants) were doing but it was the complete opposite – nature was dictating how the art form would be. In other words, Kuno just let nature show itself through art; he did not force the exhibition to proceed in a certain way. Kuno simply made it easier and more visually acceptable to us by blowing up the scene and the sounds. The idea of having nature express itself through art without the influence of human beings is something that I am not used to and very astounded by. Another nonconformist aspect of the art was that the video of the ants in the ant farm was blown up to amplify the creatures. Many people like to think that they are dominant over ants and other creatures but Kuno made it clear that nature and its animals are dominant over human beings. The fact that the exhibition was originally staged in an abandoned building during the night time and the fact that it frightened people at night really conveyed Kuno’s ideas that we really should be afraid of what nature is capable of. We tend to be afraid of such depictions of animals because it is so foreign to us. We like to think of ants as being tiny, pesky creatures that are incapable of thought or communication but Kuno’s exhibition revealed the real truth. Ants indeed are able to communicate in a complex fashion and organize themselves into ornate, organized communities just like human beings. Thus the ants that we thought were unintelligent beings actually are very intelligent when it comes to communication. This may be a something we think about everyday but Kuno did a great job of conveying these truths. In addition to this exhibition, I enjoyed listening to Kuno’s deconstruction of the guitar. He was right about music being very restricted in the guitar because of the fact that the six strings are organized together. His idea of separating the 6-string guitar into 6 separate strings with 6 separate guitarists allowed him to open a whole new branch of music that had previously been untouched. It is interesting to think that all the music we hear on the radio is composed of sounds made with the same chords of a 6-string guitar. Kuno’s manipulation of this aspect of the guitar is a pioneering step; it may lead to new musical forms, new beats, and new songs to dominate radio stations. Kuno is a pioneer in opening up a new door in the field of music that had previously remained closed. I look forward to more of his deconstruction pieces in the future.

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