Fine Arts

Last chance to see the Mountain in Blaffer

The satirical exhibit at UH’s Blaffer Art Gallery museum “First Look: Okay Mountain” shows the audience a creepy — yet at times funny — way to look at cults and communes.

The first piece walking into the exhibit is the Trust Staircase. There are 8 steps and each one states another step on how to achieve self-mastery — for example, “forget what you think you know.”

At the top of each step are glowing coals that seem to symbolize a difficult journey. The reward for reaching the top is to fall onto a mattress with a crudely drawn target.

Further into the exhibit, another sculpture is a set of bunk beds with neatly folded sheets atop pillows and glowing pictures of relaxing sunsets at the foot of the bed.

There are mirrors at the head of the bed, but they are not meant for vanity. Walking around to the back of the beds reveals switches, a clipboard and mirrors of the two-way variety.

After taking in the sculptures there is a three-tiered bleacher set up so that one can view a video that explains how the commune works and should function to new inductees.

The film’s narrator is a soft spoken woman dressed in neutral tones. Her voice is meant to be soothing and impersonal. She explains that everything you bring in will be taken away and you will be given everything you need while living there.

The feeling of isolation and removing of ones personality appears to be what the “Okay Mountain” video is trying convey. Satirically speaking, of course.

The actors do a good job of playing up the cult appearance. One of my favorite scenes is when the narrator goes over the proper way to wash dishes, the senior buddy looks over at the junior buddy in a slightly disapproving manner for missing a spot on the dish.

And then humor shifts for second when there is a brief 1984 Big-Brother-is-watching-you moment in the film.

The narrator says calmly but firmly, “remember you are being watched,” to make sure that the “buddies” do their work correctly.

The exhibit ends Saturday. Do yourself a big favor and check it out. It is one of the most creative and interesting modern art exhibits I have seen in a while.

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