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Real Time Mobile Art Exhibition Essay

Monday, March 3rd, 2008


Real Time

@ The Dallas Contemporary February 15 - May 10 2008
Curated by Dean Terry with John Pomara

inter.sect art collective
Kirsten Macy
Doreen Maloney
Marisa Olson
Marjorie & Ludwig Schwarz
Leslie Sharpe
Bart Weiss

What kind of art can you make on a mobile phone in 15 seconds?

The art of the mobile phone is the art of the hurried, the time starved, the always on. It is the art of waiting in lines, sitting in traffic, and mind numbing meetings. It is the art of the art of the exhausted, overworked American. Rather than the result of long hours of extended reflection it is the art of the pressured moment.

The mobile phone is the one device we have with us in these moments, and precisely because of its restrictiveness, it is ideally suited as an art machine. It’s products are the 140 character SMS message, the 15 second video, the grainy blur of a 640 x 480 cameraphone image. These are the microexpressions of the metatasker. Microart is about the composite and sequential effect of a large number of small bits that create a stream rather than fewer, individual substantive statements.

The work you will see in this exhibition changes every day, and indeed was probably made just before you arrived at the showing. Rather than placing works in the space that were created beforehand, each artist will generate video from a mobile phone each day and send it to the Dallas Contemporary from wherever they happen to be. The work is sent like a text message or an email with a video attachment from the device. Most entries will take the artist less than a minute to compose and send, and each message is also delivered to an exhibition website at

The result of this mobile art process process will be a series of “micro art” pieces that will constitute, rather than a single work, a continuum of discrete pieces that create a loose narrative or sequence, based around any conceptual frame the artists desires. Each artist has been encouraged to interpret these working conditions differently.

Microart is about accepting and exhibiting (mostly) failure rather than (mostly) success. It is about the composite and sequential effect of a large number of small bits that create a stream rather than fewer, individual substantive statements. And its about honesty and directness of the process. Individual posts may be disposable, like most cultural productions in consumer society, but the goal is that the cumulative effect is not.

The idea behind this exhibition emphasizes process over permanence, transparency over secrecy and opacity, and an open (virtual) studio door with a closed one, where the artist has walked through and escaped out into the world.

Choosing the artists for this project was a difficult and time consuming task. The concern was not necessarily whether they had done mobile work before, but rather in challenging them with the construct. The demands (daily uploads) and limitations (cell phone video) require a certain commitment of the participants: they cannot just send a work to the space, attend the opening, and forget about it. And in most cases the participants are forced to alter their normal practices - especially in terms of time and control over their creative products.

Real Time gives viewers and participants the ability to reinterpret the way they interact with each other via mobile technology, and to examine how it simultaneously connects and disconnects us from each other. More and more the mobile phone will be the mediating device between people and places.

When time is sliced in ever finer increments, and we endure a daily war of attention, what kind of art can be produced in these circumstances? Real Time is an attempt to answer that question, and challenges us to anticipate, participate in, and critique creative practice in emerging mobile culture.

-Dean Terry
February 2008

Follow the show every day through May 10 2008 at

The Metaversal Scream

Thursday, April 12th, 2007

the metaversal scream




The image tearing is a glitch. I love glitches. They were easy to create in the early days of computer imaging but are now almost impossible to find. Luckily there’s Second Life, which is full of them.

This is from a capture taken in Second Life at an art opening at the Metaverse Gallery.

And here’s one from back in the day, made by crashing Photoshop

Reality Bytes Video Art Show

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007



Reality Bytes, the video show I curated with John Pomara, opens this Friday at The Contemporary in Dallas.

Artists include:
Marc Aschenbrenner, Sue C [Sue Constabile], Brian Edwards, Sara Ishii, Mary Magsamen and Stephan Hillerbrand, Christi Nielsen, Corinna Schnitt, Noah Simblist, & Michael Bell Smith.



Night Train Video Show

Wednesday, July 5th, 2006

Bill Bartee has has
curated a cool video projection show at the Studio
832 Gallery
. The opening was fantastic, with projections of work placed
on the gallery’s street facing windows. Instead of the visitors being in
the gallery, they were all outside in the street. And, this being Texas in
the summer, there were snow cones!

Blake Wake Falls

For my piece I put in a work in progress about the virtual adventures of
my Second Life avatar Blake Wake. The 3 minute video chronicles his "rise and
fall" as it were. It’s part of a larger, new project currently titled Avatar.
Greg Metz presented a really nice series of photos (see below for an example).


Paul Abbott – Trish Cox – Greg Metz – Dean Terry – Reinhard

Wednesday, June 28, 2006, 8 - 10 PM
Twilight Outdoor Reception

832 Exposition Avenue · Dallas, Texas, 75226

| map

greg metz

Moving Pictures Review

Thursday, December 8th, 2005

Janet Kutner wrote a review
of Moving Pictures in the Dallas Morning News today:

Experimental Art on the Move

ART REVIEW: Internet’s influence seen in Dallas show
11:03 AM CST on Thursday, December 8, 2005
By JANET KUTNER / The Dallas Morning News

Now you see it, now you don’t. Digitized paintings displayed at the Dallas
Center for Contemporary Art provide an ever-changing array of colors, patterns
and iconography.

"Moving Pictures" is the title of the show, which was co-curated
by Dallas artists and University of Texas at Dallas professors John Pomara
and Dean Terry. "Narratives with no beginning, middle or end" is
what Mr. Terry calls these experimental works, which represent art on the
run - symbolic of the Internet’s pervasive influence and of the curators’
desire to "open the gallery up to outside influences."

The professors put their philosophy into practice at UTD, where Mr. Terry’s
art and technology students take Mr. Pomara’s painting classes and vice versa.

Everything here is in a state of flux, and some works are actually being
created over the course of the show’s seven-week run. An interactive installation
by Max Kazemzadeh of Denton includes electromechanical pencils suspended from
the ceiling, which produce abstract drawings on papers spread across the floor
in response to people passing through the space.

Mr. Terry’s own work, a vertical diptych titled,
requires more effort on his part. Each morning he shoots a two- to three-minute
video with his cellphone and e-mails it to the gallery, which digitally projects
it on the lower portion of the wall. The previous day’s video moves to the
top, where it shares time with those that came before.

The imagery is hard to decipher, given the limited capabilities of Mr. Terry’s
cellphone camera and the blown-up proportions of the projected images.

But traces of landscapes, buildings or people can be detected here and there,
including an organic shape that turns out to be his wife’s knee.


100lies featured on MoBuzzz TV

Friday, December 2nd, 2005

A Spanish show that focuses on mobile culture called MoBuzz TV has done a piece featuring, the web version of my mobile video painting project in the Contemporary. Check it out here!

The host comments that some of the work looks like what a camera phone would do if just left on. The pieces are actually planned, labored over, and reshot, but having them come off seeming casual and random is a plus.

Moving Pictures Images

Wednesday, November 30th, 2005


I’ve posted a few images from the Moving Pictures video painting show on flickr.

video painting dean terry

Read more about the piece here
and see the online version at
Info on the show is here.