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Talkin’ Trash 

The latest mind-boggle from Paper Rad

Wednesday, Aug 2 2006
Sources increasingly credit Paper Rad — a name loosely associated with art output ranging from DVDs to cottage-sized gallery installations (including one currently on display at Yerba Buena Center), to a Super Mario Brothers movie made from a hacked Nintendo cartridge — as a pioneer in the “new low-tech” art genre. While the value of such a term is debatable, it goes a fair distance in locating the fundamental nature of an imprint centering on the video medium. Paper Rad employs, among other elements, ’90s Lego commercials; crude cartoons or computer graphics; and whirling, rotating multicolor grids and patterns; all of which combine to hallucinatory effect. The Pittsburg, Penn./Northampton, Mass., creative collective features at its core Jessica Ciocci, Jacob Ciocci, and Ben Jones, a team that paired up for Trash Talking, a Load Records DVD that’s another practice in confusion, non sequitur, and pop-culture references picked from the past 30 years. Gumby, Alf, Garfield, and the like make regular appearances amid intentionally naïve caricatures of other familiar cultural icons and what-have-you, all flying around a screen where bright, flashing background objects threaten to induce seizures. Much of Trash is scored by elementary booty rap beats and bargain-priced electro jams, aside from a six-minute section featuring a track from the Wizardzz’s Hidden City of Taurmond. Moments of hilarity exist throughout this otherwise pleasantly baffling visual excursion, especially the relatively coherent “Guide to CD-ROMs,” in which a smiley-face-endowed cloud attempts to instruct users on how to use a CD-ROM menu. Trash wouldn’t seem out of place on late-night Cartoon Network, but it would probably confuse your parents. Intoxicants suggested but not required for usage.

About The Author

Grant Brissey


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