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Unframed: Installations and More, It Takes More Than A Bunch Of Stuff To Make An Installation
by Barbara Fontana Yontz

In Review, September 19, 2000

Last week, I made reference to the Fugitive Art Center's current exhibition, "Okno" by Jim Haynes, which will be at the Center from Sept. 9 to Oct. 10, and it is definitely not one to be missed. The installation is composed of life-sized silhouettes of human forms rendered from rusted letter-press number blocks, photographs of radio towers and open landscapes (also with rusted numbers), and a network of speakers dispersed throughout the space connected by thick black wires. Together, these elements present a clean, elegant visual gestalt heightened by the "sound collage" recording. The sound loop provides a continuous, well composed yet eerie auditory element creating a more total sensory experience.

As you move through the exhibition, viewing each piece individually, the parts begin to tell a story. The seven figures are imprinted with rusted numbers on heavy water-color paper that has been torn and re-stitched with dental floss. The result produces the feeling of a frail and diffused form recalling the death shrouds of antiquity, but in our time, infiltrated by numbers. The numbers, which show up also on the photographs, are said by Haynes to represent the encrypted messages that use numbers and emanate from anonymous shortwave radio transmissions. They seem to represent a more universal symbolic representation of radio waves in general. It is as though Haynes is giving symbolic form to invisible radio waves that move through the air and also move past the skin to infiltrate the interior of our being in some kind of way.

The sound loop is a textured composition of mechanized voices reciting numbers, creaking drones of the sound of rust, and some other, unidentifiable sounds. As a whole, the installation is intellectually compelling and visually beautiful, and each time I experience it I find new meanings.