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Amy Fung
Kevin Schmidt at the Contemporary Art Gallery
April 22, 2014

Staging the spectacle in sublime and remote locations, Kevin Schmidt's EDM House and High Altitude Balloon Harmless Amateur Radio Equipment present a query into the myth of displaced image making. Situated on either side of The Contemporary Art Gallery, the two works from 2013 range from a deeply luminous, richly detailed, yet ordinary photograph of the curvature of the earth to an absurdist and amateur nineties rave in the form of an abandoned haunted house in the BC interior. Paired together, Schmidt appears to offer an ongoing investigation into DIY culture via internet phenomena and asks us to look again, to look closer.

Kevin Schmidt, EDM House

H.A.B.H.A.R.E. appears in a darkened, immersive presentation, a nearly floor-to-ceiling projection of the photograph taken from the stratosphere of a self-launched amateur radio high altitude balloon built and launched by Schmidt with help from Sherwood Park's Balloon Experiments with Amateur Radio. As a hobbyist passion fervently shared the world over, aerial photographs from space made by amateur enthusiasts are posted across the internet in what has been dubbed as the poor man's space program. Adding a Linhof lens and a meticulously calculated shutter to create the 4 x 5 photograph, Schmidt is at once celebrating and overturning the amateurs who inspired him, accessing a professional level of dissemination and presentation through the gallery exhibition, which extends well beyond the flatness of the world wide web.

Similarly, drawing attention to DIY internet fan psychedelia along with horror film tropes, EDM House is arguably Schmidt's most cinematic work to date. Screened at Künstlerhaus Bethanie in 2013 and screening next at Fogo Island Arts (the original commissioner of the project), EDM House pulsates as a dusk-to-dawn single unit dance party emanating from a near abandoned house. Programmed inside and out with tacky strings of Christmas lights and gel swipes, the house appears from a series of different angles, circling the house as the camera subtly pulls in and out, panning one way while zooming in the opposite direction, creating a tug and pull visual warble that keeps the house at the foreground as the background shifts in scope. Synchronized to rave music composed by Schmidt during his five months of living and working in the house, and made available to the area through a local FM radio channel, the result is an absorbing reconsideration of spectacle-making in a post-internet DIY consumer/producer culture.

Contemporary Art Gallery:
Kevin Schmidt continues until June 1.

Amy Fung is a writer and organizer who publishes nationally and internationally in journals, magazines, catalogues, and monographs in print and online. Her ongoings can be found at and on Twitter @anotheramyfung. She is Akimblog's Vancouver correspondent.



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