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September 19, 2007 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-09-19

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4

8A - Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Michigan Dailv - michigandailv.com

FINE ARTS COLUMN
Out with the old,
in with the tech

T he Internet can be a life-
saver. When you're about
to step out the door and
realize you don't know what cross
street that
movie theater
was on, or you
are about to
submit a paper
when a sliver
of doubt enters
your about
the birth date
of Alexander ABIGAILBK
Hamilton, COLODNER
it's there. We
expect certain
types of information to be acces-
sible so long as the Web is open to
us.
While doing some last-minute
fact collecting for a high school
art-history paper on a local exhibit
of 1980s painter Basquiat, I found
an entire replica of the exhibit. The
museum had a Web feature that
allowed me to zoom into individual
paintings, read the accompanying
placards and explore a timeline of
the artist's life.
Word of the museum's online
feature spread fast around the
senior art-history students, each
now a ticket price poorer for hav-
inggone to the museum.
It seemed the feature had taken
on a function its creators hadn't
envisioned. Was it possible that
the museum had blithely given us
free rein to explore its collections
- the product of too many people,
years and internal politics to com-
prehend - from the banality of our
computer desks, bypassing real
patronage of the museum?
Conventional boundaries are
shifting and procedures changing
as technology advances. The Bas-
quiat discovery led me to suspect
this progress may leave more room
for creative interpretation than its
makers anticipated.
ARackhamguestlecturerrecent-
ly envisioned the unique challenges
of a globalizing world - in particu-
lar the role of technology, which
institutions like museums may too
hastily choose as the best way to
respond to a fast-changing world.
The speaker last spring was
Vishakha N. Desai, the president of
The Asia Society, an international
nonprofit organization that orga-
nizes dialogues on art, culture and
globalization. She entreated the
crowded Amphitheater to antici-
pate the opportunities and dangers
the modernworld presents, partic-
ularly for museums and educators.
Desai mentioned the dual influ-
ence systems like the Internet, dig-
ital photography and holograms
could have on museums in the
future. It's easy to imagine posi-
tives - if a museum could feature
a 3D hologram ofcthe Elgin marbles
or sculptures taken from the Par-
thenon in Athens, it could avoid the
thorny politics behind a museum
in England displaying works that
exemplify the cultural legacy of
ancient Greece. Greece wants its
marbles back, but they've become
one of the British Museum's most
jealously guarded possessions.
Desai imagined a future in which,
to some degree, the museums
could eat their own cake and some-
one else's, too.
Desai called for awareness that
this technology could help muse-
ums reach the audiences they're
losing to other forms of entertain-

ment. One challenge is that with
the advancement of technology,
people become more, or exclusively,
accustomed to instantcgratification
and highly interactive activities,
not gallery browsing. It's a shame
that museums are often assumed
to be the territory of an intellec-
tual elite, since most are designed
to cater to large audiences - come
one and come all.
Already many museums have
gotten on board with extensive
online tours of their gallery spac-
es. The Asia Society, which has its
headquarters and gallery space in
New York City, has a page of links
to video interviews, interactive
features about current exhibits and
reports on international events, all
operated throughYouTube.
Going further, museums like
the Contemporary Museum in
Baltimore incorporate the technol-
ogy we already take for granted
into crowd-pleasing exhibits. This
past winter the museum housed
an exhibit all about cell phones as
tools for making art. One display
had visitors approach a web of
LED lights with their phones. The
brightness of the lights respond-
ed to the reception on people's
phones. Imagine a roomful of
people searching for reception
haphazardly creating waves and
patterns of light. The Mayborn
Cellphones
in museums?
No longer
taboo.
Museum in Texas replaced hand-
held audio guides, which often cost
extra to rent, with a service visitors
can access from their cell phones
as they wander through the exhibit
for no extra charge.
Something had to be appealing
to museum curators and directors
about cell phones in particular. I
suspect this personal and social
accessory translates a sense of
ownership to potentially intimi-
dating gallery spaces. A common
anxiety about museums is that
people aren't prepared to look
at unfamiliar art - but if the art
depends on their Sidekick, they've
come prepared.
This summer, the renovated
Liberty Science Center in Jersey
City opened. Stations were set up
throughout its galleries where
visitors could blog their reactions
after seeing works. This strategy,
along with the incorporation of
cell phone use into galleries, seems
designed to encourage discourse
from a society habitually inclined
against it - at least concerning the
visual arts.
Museums may invest in trendy
exhibits as insurance for the future
of their more traditional collec-
tions, but the danger stands that
the wider audience to which pro-
gressive museums cater may only
want more of the same.
- Sometimes Abby shows up
at the Daily asa hologram and we
can hardly tell the difference. E-
mail her at abigabor@umich.edu.

COUREYOFARTS&KCAFT

Drew, third frow the top left, is the first ofta planned series of albums spotlighting Broken Social Scene's principal song writers.
In the right 'Spirit'
Broken Social Scene highlights one of its own
By Derek Barber I Daily Arts Writer

j veryone can write this
song," Kevin Drew
slurs on "Backed Out
on the Cops," one of 14 tracks
on Broken Social Scene Presents
Kevin Drew, Spirit If.., "but they
can't write you and me." It's an
apt line for more than one rea-
son.
Since Bro-
ken Social ,
Scene first
shattered the Broken
indie-rock B e
charts in 2002 Social Scene
with the now-
classic You PreSentS
Forgot It In Spirit Drew
People, the
"little Cana- Spirit If...
dian band that Arts& Crafts
could" has set
itself apart
from all those other Pro Tools
bedroom acts that somehow
find time to compose between
bong hits. This band of scene-
stars is a little more than spe-
cial.
Spirit If... serves as the first in
a series of "Broken Social Scene

Presents..." albums featuring
people who are already in the
band. Make sense? Didn't think
SO.
Than again, maybe it's unfair
to compare a "Broken Social
Scene" record to a "Broken
Social Scene presents" record.
But as the title suggests, Spirit
If wouldn't be half of what it is
without Drew receiving con-
siderable help from his bud-
dies - members of Do Make
Say Think, Stars, Dinosaur Jr.'s
J. Mascis and, you guessed it,
Leslie Feist. Fortunately, as a
result, it's the record fans have
yearned for since You Forgot It
- because we haven't.
While the dense patchwork of
white noise on 2005's self-titled
album, commonly referred to
as BSS, wasn't without value,
many of those tunes tended to
plod along rather than bounce.
Basically, unlike You Forgot It,
it wasn't any good to drive to.
This time around, however, on
tracks like "Safety Bricks," it's a
relief to hear Drew back in tip-
top shape. It's straight-up song-

writing with all the hooks that
made those long drives at night
not so long. Drew whispers, "So
I won't kiss / The safety bricks /
In a car that's quick / So we can
split," and we're right with him,
passenger side.
Of course, itwouldn'tbe a BSS
record without the language.
Drew likes the F-word, and he
likes it alot. But not ina way one
might expect. Those "fucks" are
dropped as soft as humanly pos-
sible, rather than out of anger or
frustration. They're more like
bombs of exasperation, which
explains a lot.
As revealed on the ultra-
catchy piano and flute lines on
"TBTF" - an acronym for "To
Beautiful To..." kiss, right? - it's
obvious a lot of sweat and blood
went into Spirit If And for any-
one remotely disappointed with
.2005's BSS, this hit's for you.
While all the old gang is still
present and accounted, new
friends also enter the fold. The
company Drew keeps isn't the
undistinguished kind: legend-
ary guitar slinger and Dinosaur

Jr. founder J. Mascis squeals on
"Backed Out on the Cops" as the
drums steamroll along.
At a husky 14 tracks, it isn't
surprising that a couple of the
tunes are relatively expendable,
if not outwardly bad. The verse
melody on "Lucky Ones" is
addictive, but the hook doesn't
deliver like you'd expect a Kevin
Drew chorus should. Likewise,
"Fucked Up Kid" is endearing
enough, but the stripped-down
acoustic chugging is a bit redun-
dant considering this occurs in
better moments throughout the
record.
But these are minor com-
plaints in what is a relatively
cohesive and thoroughly sat-
isfying effort. It's no mistake
the wobbly bass line and.nifty
acoustic arpeggios in "Big Love"
pay their dues to You ForgotIt's
lovely "Stars and Sons." Just as
it's no mistake "Gang Bang Sui-
cide" plays as a sequel to 2002's
"Shampoo Suicide."
Kevin Drew may be giving us
what we already know and love,
but fuck, that's why we love it.

WE
R FINE, FINE ARTS
AbbyColodner writes on
the ongoing dispute over
at the Massachusettes
Museum of Contemporary
Art. Look for updates.
The Filter.
michigandaily.com/thefilter

DVD REVIEW
The old neon 'Rock' of our childhoods

COURTESY OF SUB POP

Well, these kids are enthusiastic.

New band, sound constant

By MARK SCHULTZ
Daily Arts Writer
"Fraggle Rock" is one
of those shows everyone
remembers fondly. True, the
television tastes of 9-year-
olds are less than discrimi-
nating - Jamie-Lynn Spears
still has her own show, for
example.
But a criti-
cal reeval-
uation of
this old Frgl
favorite Rock
doesn't
expose S
as many Lyons
flaws as
you might
think.
The show follows Red
Fraggle, her Fraggle friends,
the diminutive Doozers and
Fraggle-eating Gorgs as
they do nothing really but
plan events and hang out.
It's great to be a Fraggle,
especially since you get to
sing. The songs are with-
out a doubt the best part of
"Fraggle Rock" - alot of the
tunes have melodic sensi-
bilities reminiscent of Beach
Boys songs and, unlike the
bizarre musical sequences
of such shows as "Flight
of the Conchords," they fit

seamlessly into the show's
landscape.
As cute as all the songs
are, after watching "Fraggle
Rock," it becomes evident
why the Fraggles never
gained the same level of
fame as the Muppets. All
the Fraggles look alike, and
they are, for the most part,
whiny, child-like characters
whose innocence becomes
tiresome. The show is too
wholesome and lacks the
character variety of bona
fide classics like "Muppets
Tonight."
Besides the 22 episodes,
this third season offers a
bonus disc with far more
behind-the-scenes and mak-
ing-of specials than neces-
Come on,
you miss
those
Doozers.

By KAREN STASEVICH
Daily Arts Writer
Seventies theme songs,
aerobics, pep rallies, super-
hero dance parties - The Go!
Team mashes up the stuff of
nostalgics'
dreams in
the 11 tracks *
onitssopho-
morealbum, The Go!
Proof of Team
Youth.
Too bad Proof of Youth
the group SubPop
already did
the same
with its first release (then a
solo act), Thunder, Lightning,
Strike.
It's hard to fathom how
The Go! Team's transforma-
tion from Ian Parton's one-
man production housed in
his parents' kitchen to a six-
piece act ended in so little
change. A sign of creative
experimentation, even a mis-
step, would be welcome here.
The band should be capable
of varying its formula, given
that it gained not one but
two drummers, a live rhym-
ing vocalist in exchange for
audio-clip mashing and a
full three years for the new

ingred
gives?
Still
rial fai
someth
get an
overall
Go! Te
enough
old-sch
Powers
double
variou,
consor
a"
isr
listene
-anyti
the ste
Fror
Ninja4
on "G
listene
less ofi
track

ients to reinvent.What Ninja adds a flavor distinctly
pro-femme with "It's a wom-
even as the mate- an's world /You've got to give
iled to formulate into it what you got" and various
sing better, it doesn't calls of "Ladies /Yeah."
y worse, either. The "My World" stands out in a
conception of The way that isn't altogether out-
am's sound is creative standing, but it's still diver-
h, bringing together gent enough from the rest of
sool hip hop, "Austin the group's material. It's a
s"-esque theme songs, mellow instrumental inter-
-Dutch chanting and lude of guitar and various
s sound samples in a keyboard sounds with soft
tium that compels the maraca shaking. The entire
thing is reminiscent of '70s
sitcom background music.
f o The Got Team's problem
with progression probably
stems from the way the band
band that was actually formed. Thun-
pus n der was entirely the work
t pushmg of Parton and his mixing
skills, but live performances
itself. required band members and
thus requisite change. The
new musicians fit in perfectly
- possibly so much that the
addition stifled any creativ-
r to tap, gyrate, flip out ity the new members brought
hing other than sit by to the Team. And although it
reo. seems the band can't alter its
m the moment rapper formula, the good news is it's
starts spitting rhymes working really well. But for
rip Like A Vice," the the sake of a little construc-
r s engaged. Regard- tive criticism, on the next
its similarities to every album, how about showing
on Thunder, Lightning, some inventive teamwork?

U
I
I

That hair will never go out of style.

sode breakdowns featuring enough. "Fraggle Rock" may
producer and director com- not be the pure joy it was as
mentary on this disc might a Squeez-It-drinking pre-
sary. If you're a huge fan of give you your fix. For the pubescent, but like an old
the show, the slow-paced rest of us, though, viewing yearbook, its charms are fun
audio commentaries and epi- a few episodes will be sweet on second look.

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