An eye-catching visual interpretation of consciousness and memory by multi-disciplinary artist Kasumi stops viewers in their tracks in Downtown Houston. Her seven and a half minute work, “The Nostalgia Factory,” features hypnotic colorized loops from vaguely recognizable classic cinema.
Her vertical film is included as part of “Color Play,” a new art film installation dubbed Sidewalk Cinema in collaboration with Aurora Picture Show and curated by Weingarten Art Group. The collection of contemporary video works is located in two windows of the Sakowitz garage at 1111 Main Street.
Kasumi offers more insight into her creation.
Q: What intrigues you about mid-20th-century imagery?
Kasumi: I love the earnestness and directness of mid-century imagery – at times it possesses an almost naïve quality and lacks the pretense and irony of our jaded times. The imagery from old training and educational films – the junkyard of our cultural history – is especially straightforward, stylized, and iconic, making it more universally understood. The directness of the acting makes each gesture an unambiguous signal of communication.
Q: You opt for very bold colors in your work. What does color mean to you?
Kasumi: The popping and flamboyant colors in my work make something new out of something old. It brings the materials I use – mostly grainy black and white imagery – into a whole new vivid universe. Non-representational color on representational form is able to convey new perspectives and sensations.
Q: How do you think the location in Downtown Houston will affect the interpretation of your work?
Kasumi: I think this exciting venue invites new audiences into my world. A public art installation is an entirely new way for me to communicate with the public in that it offers brief glimpses of fleeting reflection as opposed to intense concentration that exhibiting work in a gallery or a movie theater would produce.
I’m reaching for parameters for a psychological perspective that amounts to something like a new dimension. My invention is essentially a meta-montage, using our civilization’s image-soaked, cinema-saturated version of life as the starting point for a work which is, finally, a tapestry of public dreams – dreams that are indistinguishable from private reveries.
Q: What do you hope viewers will take away from interacting with your work?
Kasumi: I hope they can experience the joy I derive from creating my work. If I can somehow delight viewers by revealing the complexity and depths of the reality in which we live in ways that haven't been done before, I’d be happy.
Q: What is it like working in vertical video format? What are the challenges, opportunities?
Aside from the formal compositional problem, we tend to view things on the horizon, broadly, so the vertical format is always challenging. But it also offers a new perspective: the vertical format becomes a window into another world, a peep-hole into my mind.