Posters, Poetry, Pigs

The visual arts program at Bumbershoot 2003 promises not just paintings on a wall but a whole lot of digital doohickeys, spinning things, fashion, and multimedia gizmos. Seems they have to make a little noise to compete with R.E.M., Wilco, and Modest Mouse.

There is one “headliner” artist, digital installation creator Ben Rubin. His “Listening Post,” which debuted to acclaim at On The Boards earlier this year, let viewers eavesdrop on random Internet chat traffic. Now he presents “Spin”a light and sonic display in which a grid of projected spinning discs are accompanied by corresponding tones. Possible downside: seasickness. (Fidalgo Room, Northwest Court)

Not be outdone, Cathy McClure’s sure-to-be-frenetic “Get Me Off This Crazy Thing” is another one of this Seattle artist’s room-filling kinetic sculptures. Casting shadows on the walls will be a menagerie of gyrating tchotchkes, figurines, and carnivalesque stuff. (Orcas Room)

Fusing word and art, “FutureForWord” will offer an interactive “vispo” (that’s visual poetry) installation curated by Michael Ricciardi. It includes a terminal that turns spoken word into visualized text, “CinePoems,” interactive digital canvases by George Aguilar, and an exhibit on the history of vispo by local poet Nico Vassilakis. (Lobby)

In the more traditional art category, “The Last Judgment Project” is a high-minded attempt to showcase art dealing with issues of justice, judgment, and prejudice. Curator Stefano Catalani’s inclusion of John Feodorov, Friese Undine, and Pam Keeley is a good sign for some gut-hitting work that’s not overly didactic. (Rainier Room)

No doubt the most popular, and very possibly the most stimulating, exhibit will be “Flatstock 3,” a national show of rock poster art that includes many of Seattle’s biggest namesJeff Kleinsmith, Justin Hampton, Shawn Wolfe, artists from around the country. They’ll be signing and selling, with prices starting at around $10. (Center House)

Finally, I’m alarmed to see that Bumbershoot is trying to clone its own version of Pigs on Parade by having 40 artists do their worst with rice paper umbrellas, in “Under Construction.” The “art-transformed” objects will be auctioned off like pigs during the gala opening Wednesday night. (Shaw Room)

For information on “Fashion Is Art” (Olympic Room), see box, p. 90. And remember, the best time to see Bumbershoot arts exhibits is not during Bumbershoot. An opening reception takes place Wednesday, Aug. 27, 6-9:30 p.m. All of the exhibits in the Northwest Court rooms at Seattle Center are open and free Wednesday, Aug. 27-Thursday, Aug. 28, noon to 8 p.m. ANDREW ENGELSON