_ This Concept > loop this concept: The Breakaway Mobius Strip Palindrome

Take Bruce Conner's original Breakaway film with Toni Basil dancing in an increasingly naked fashion (for the first half of the film; in the second half she dances backwards in a decreasingly naked fashion), and loop it so that it plays forwards and backwards and forwards and backwards for the entire exhibit. Better yet, just save it as a quicktime file and set the player on palindrome, so it doesn't just loop, but it actually plays the backwards part forwards and the forwards part backwards on its way back to the start.

It won't make a darned bit of difference practically whether you loop it or do the palindrome thing, but you can include the fact that you used the palindrome setting in your Artist Statement. It will make it seem all new media and technological. Like, "Techno." From the Greek -- "Technae." From the French -- "Technique." And then you can be all like -- "Techtonic plate structures..."

Or set one player on one projector to loop it, and another player on a second projector to palindrome play it, and then talk about that in your Artist Statement.

The title of the piece is your real "ace in the hole." Mobius strip like "a continuous one-sided surface that can be formed from a rectangular strip by rotating one end 180 degrees and attaching it to the other end." But then also like "Strip," as in "film strip." But then also like "strip," as in a "strip tease." Ha! And the best part is, you don't really have to do anything. Just set up a quicktime player to loop somebody else's video. The "art" is in "the thinkin'" (thinkin' which I'm giving away 4 free RIGHT NOW!)

For the Artist Statement, you can take it through any number of doors.

The formalist/media theory door -- Bruce Conner went forwards THEN backwards, but he was still stuck in the linear finitude of the filmic language. But you're all like taking it next level and stuff by LOOPING it. You can say something like "minimalistic/transparent application of basic technology to foreground the camouflaged substructure of the loop event." Blah blah blah. Y'all know the drill. Throw in something about Hindu audio drone tracks and trance/dance drum loops for quasi-spirituality cum street cred.

Or you can take it through the feminist door -- womyn as fetish objects stuck in 16mm celluloid for decades and how your loop is dynamically foregrounding (can't say "foregrounding" too much), foregrounding the plight of her stasis. "You're not complicit with what's illicit, you're just unearthing the implicit." Too P. D. Miller? You might want to back off a bit. Stick with what you know. Old tricks are the best tricks.

The pop art door -- pom poms, cheerleading sweaters, a blaring audio loop of "Oh Mickey You're So Fine" over it all. If you're Miltos Manetas, naked girlfriends should probably be involved.

Ooh, then throw in some quotes!


The technique of reproduction detaches the reproduced object from the domain of tradition. By making many reproductions it substitutes a plurality of copies for a unique existence. And in permitting the reproduction to meet the beholder or listener in his own particular situation, it reactivates the object reproduced.
- Benjamin

For [the modern scriptor],... the hand, cut off from any voice, borne by a pure gesture of inscription (and not of expression), traces a field without origin -- or which, at least, has no other origin than language itself, language which ceaselessly calls into question all origins...

The text is a tissue of quotations drawn from the innumerable centres of culture... The writer can only imitate a gesture that is always anterior, never original. His only power is to mix writings, to counter the ones with the others, in such a way as never to rest on any one of them... Succeeding the Author, the scriptor no longer bears within him passions, humours, feelings, impressions, but rather this immense dictionary from which he draws a writing that can know no halt.

- Barthes


Basically, these quotes are just a fancy way to excuse the fact that you haven't really done anything. Then you can be all like, "Of course I didn't do anyTHING. I did NO THING! It's all tissues and gestures and palimpsests and patinas! That's precisely what I'm foregrounding!" Be creative! Don't let me limit you. (But do make sure to say "foregrounding").

Have fun with it. But don't use it unless you have some history with this kind of stuff. Fool 'em once, shame on you. Fool 'em as a career conceptual artist, and they're much more likely to bend over and take it yet again.

[Disclaimer: Not all conceptual art is bad. Some conceptual art really makes you think.]

your dear friend,