Day 2 of Infringement: the thrill of the hunt
Looking through today's seemingly endless list of Infringement Festival events, from Marxist theater performances and perplexing art installations (see below) to backyard documentary screenings and art exhibitions in totally unexpected locations, it was easy to get frustrated by the sheer number of options. How could one be expected to experience the full power and scope of Infringement with literally hundreds of enticing and mysterious events transpiring at rad venues around the city in a single day?
The answer, of course, is not to plan. On a late-night stroll down Allen Street, not knowing exactly what to expect, you could have caught a set or two from the "This show doesn't need a fancy name" showcase or meandered past this strange and slightly unnerving art installation:
I couldn't locate the name or creator of the piece for the life of me in the Infringement schedule. It contained a vaguely organic mass of tissue papers suspended from a hook, not entirely unevokative of a bovine carcass. Suffice it to say that it was more than a tiny bit disturbing, even for the brief moments I basked in its creepy red glow and watched a man (presumably the artist himself) lumber around for a spell. I'll be coming back to this one for a more complete report if it's still around this weekend.
I also checked out a brief bit of SP@CE 224's documentary night in a small backyard accessed by an alleyway. The yard was packed with rapt onlookers, who were checking out a doc called "Buffalo Spray," described as "a small history of Buffalo Graffiti through the eyes of 3 street artists, Law Enforcement, and the Community." The night also featured Bflo Pnk 1.0, a documentary project by former News reporter and SUNY Fredonia faculty member Elmer Ploetz.
After that it was on to the main event of my night (aside from Subverisve Theatre's "The Mother," which I'll review here shortly), what I thought was the Cosmopolitan Gallery for the enticing-sounding "Creepshow Freakshow" opening night. Serves me right for not reading the schedule to find out that the unorthodox gallery space at Allen and Main Street, in fact, moved on up to the East Side. (The big "Cosmopolitan Gallery" sign is still up on Main Street.) So I took off in that direction only to find that the gallery had closed up shop for the night early.
The lights were still on inside, however, and this former bar on an entirely bleak and abandoned stretch of Genesee St. had been decked out with all manner of dark art and occult-ish paraphernalia, including a freaky-looking skull in the front window. The whole scene looked like something entirely unsavory had just occurred in the space (not unlike certain paintings by Francis Bacon or Guillermo Kuitca).
The experience of looking in on all the strange items arrayed around this unexpected place on a quiet but sort of dicey stretch of the East Side was, in its way, a perfect moment of unexpected oddness and beauty -- and very Infringey way to end the day. I'll surely be returning when the doors are open to check out the space in fill you all in more on what's inside.
Until next time, follow my Infringement tweets at twitter.com/colindabkowski, and feel free to share your own favorite Infringement moments, acts and suggestions in the comments section of this blog.
See you around Allentown, and may the spirit of Infringement be with you.