Ron Terada is a Vancouver-based artist operating in the fields of painting, video, photography, sound, and graphic design. Art on the Move is an ongoing public commissions initiative and for this project, Dominic Molon, the Richard Brown Baker Curator of Contemporary Art at the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, has commissioned Terada for a two-part project that ties into the artist's personal canon Soundtrack for an Exhibition, which he began in 2000.
Through Locust Projects, this seamlessly marries Terada's clean grasp for graphic design with an audio-related form of art that is equal parts mood manipulation in the vein of a great mixtape and High Fidelity-esque record-loving snobby nerdiness. But in a good way. This results in an execution that, though vaguely familiar, harbors elements of pranking and "disruptive dissonance" that challenge expected perceptions.
According to the event's press release, Terada "uses text and various forms of institutional and cultural communication such as signs, posters, and soundtrack albums to create works that are distinctly personal and biographical though seemingly detached." Art on the Move best exemplifies the dichotomy with two ethereal and transient approaches that offer a different tactility for a full circle experience.
On one hand, Terada has put together an album for the project with 11 tracks of subjective importance to him. This album, Soundtrack for an Exhibition is reminiscent of compilation LPs peddled to the South American market in the '80s as feelers of what singles would be pushed from the label's latest musicians. These would then license out to subsidiary labels there, hence why some collectors will stress the importance of where the album was pressed -- like these examples of the Rolling Stones' Their Satanic Majesties Request: British and Israeli versions.
The cover art, minimalist windowpane text with gradient coloring, is evocative of South Florida's Miami Vice allure. This LP, a nifty object d'art and fully operational slab of wax, is limited to a press run of 2,000 copies and will be distributed by Locust for free. Provided that you use these hashtags in your social media platforms:
The second facet of the project is the placement of song titles on top of advert spaces on taxi cabs. Where you'll usually find the number for legal aid or the provocative enticement of a strip club, now you'll find bilingual song titles from the the LP like "Nova Hearts" / "Corazón Nova" and "Midnight Man" / "Hombre de Medianoche" without the benefit of context with the actual project, so as to create subterfuge and obfuscation in an artistic manner.
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This is ultimately a form of "prompting consideration of how the function of 'soundtracks' in films to establish a tone and atmosphere within which the protagonists fictionally exist might be translated into both art and everyday situations." It's no different than being stuck at a red light with some yahoo blasting music next to you -- only this time, the music itself is the suggestion of a song title, forcing the viewer to formulate their own sound profile for it unless, of course, they've picked up an LP, know the song, and are now able to experience it in a visual manner.
Confusing? Mood manipulating? Snobby in arrogance? Yes, Terada definitely strikes the right chords that concern the proper creation of a mixtape for a town that needs to interact with public art in fresher and newer ways.
Art on the Move: Ron Terada Curated by Dominic Molon from November 2014 - January 2015. Reception at 7 p.m. on Thursday, December 4 at Locust Projects, 3852 N. Miami AVE, Miami. Call 305-576-8570 or visit locustprojects.org.