RUDY
LEMCKE
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click on "His Perfect Lover" for Shockwave Presentation
Rudy Lemcke started making and exhibiting art in the late 1970's. His early conceptual work reflects the influence of composer and artist John Cage. The landmark "In a Different Light" exhibition included Lemcke's "Untitled Performance Score" next to one of Cage's most revolutionary pieces, "4 minutes, 33 seconds" (in which the performer sits silently at a piano for the duration). But Lemcke's work shifted focus and by the late 1980's he was making paintings that dealt with the AIDS epidemic and the construction of queer identity.

 

Several years ago he developed a severe allergy to paint, and was forced to stop painting altogether. This was the catalyst that led him to explore new technologies as a medium for his art and over the past three years he produced two CD-ROMs. Using a program called "Director," Lemcke creates art which links text, graphics, photography, video and sound. Layered images and text previously manipulated in paint are now explored in a new way. Most significantly, interactivity replaces passive observation. By pointing and clicking on certain images or words, users (no longer just viewers) participate in the art and, to some extent, control the way they see it. This exhibition includes stills from each of his CD's along with one interactive composition, "His Perfect Lover."

 

The first CD-ROM, "Homosuite," is a collection of four pieces with queer themes. Lemcke uses a technique he calls "subversive reinscription" to show how meaning is necessarily the product of both the writer/artist and the (queer) viewer. For example, in "The Little Merman" he changes the gender of the main character of the classic fairy tale to completely transform the content. In "Fin Again(s) Wake" he positions words taken from James Joyce's novel on the screen so that the names of AIDS drugs form the central axis of a series of poems. "Where Buffaloes Roam" juxtaposes images from the 6th International Conference on AIDS with a native American folk tale about the disappearance of the buffalo. "Puzzle Me This, Puzzle Me That" layers text from queer writers on top of images of queer art in the form of a puzzle which gradually reveals a self-portrait.

 

"Mourning Becomes Ecstatic," his second CD-ROM explores a "psychological spaciality" that is created by the user. In "Haunted House" the user selects from a series of narratives about the 70's disco scene to create a unique visual and auditory experience that is both nostalgic and timeless. "His Perfect Lover" offers a group of spinning heads which, on the click of a mouse, stop and speak to us about the pursuit of an ideal that may exist only in the computer.

 

Despite his love affair with the technology, Lemcke's greatest strength lies in his ability to use computers in the service of his artistic goals. "My artwork and interests haven't really changed," he observes. "Rather than start with the 'big picture' and somehow extrapolate a personal meaning out of that, I'm trying to talk about my life and hopefully get at something bigger."

 

--Barry Harrison

 

Cover Image
from the CD-ROM
Homosuite
"Fin Again(s) Wake"
from the CD-ROM
Homosuite
"Where Buffaloes Roam"
from the CD-ROM Homosuite
"Puzzle Me This, Puzzle Me That"
from the CD-ROM Homosuite
"The Little Merman"
from the CD-ROM
Homosuite
"Haunted House"
from the CD-ROM
Mourning Becomes Ecstatic

 

Cover Image and "My Dead"
from the CD-ROM
Mourning Becomes Ecstatic

 

"His Perfect Lover"
from the CD-ROM
Mourning Becomes Ecstatic
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