What Does It Mean? / Danny Bracken

Exhibition View of Works by Danny Bracken, 2014



digital audio, amplifiers, speakers, subwoofers

Bracken examines the tenuous relationship between the physical and digital worlds through a number of installations that use water, stone and soil interwoven with video projections, digital sound and a live video feed. Bracken blurs the lines between these two realms.

The works are subtly interactive, shifting as one’s perspective changes, altering its appearance with each glance. The installations expose the limits and imperfections of both realities, questioning our tendency to glorify and idealize our conceptions of the new and old.

At what might be considered the heart of the exhibition is an installation titled What Does It Mean? The name is a reference to a popular video posted by a YouTube user named Yosemitebear62 in January 2010. In the video, the viewer sees a handheld video capturing the uploader’s ecstatic response to seeing a double rainbow in his front yard somewhere outside of Yosemite National Park.

Upon viewing the double rainbow YouTube video, the initial reaction of many was that of amusement, laughter and serious questioning of the videographer’s psychological stability. We hear him in unhindered wonderment, with tears and an almost orgasmic sounding response at seeing the rainbow. It is nature being beautiful, a man experiencing it and technology capturing it all.

Undoubtedly, it was Yosemitebear24’s over the top reaction, not the actual rainbow shown, which caused the video to be viewed over 40 million times. Like so many attempts to record nature, the end product usually falls short of the real thing, and all the viewer is left with is a shaky video of one man’s experience of the natural world. Yet despite the absurdity of the video, there is something moving about it. Perhaps part of us wishes we could see the world as the videographer does, in complete bewilderment of nature's presence. Near the middle of the video he asks "what does it mean?" - a response many of us might have upon seeing such a rainbow, whether it be in a national park or one created in the basement of an art museum.
About the Artist
Danny Bracken’s creative practice explores interactions between video, sound, and physical space, ranging from immersive, multi-sensory installations to small-scale sculptures. Born into a family of musicians, sound occupies a central role in his work; finding a place in film scores, installations, and stand-alone recordings. At the heart of these investigations lies an interest in the relationship between humans, the natural world, and technology. Throughout the work he explores the ways in which technology has shifted how we perceive and experience the people and places that surround us. Bracken’s music further extends this dialogue, examining the tenuous balance between digital possibility and human impression, creating in a context that is constantly shifting between analog and digital realms. 

After completing a visual arts degree in 2005, Bracken joined the Chicago-based music collective Anathallo. The group toured extensively throughout North America, Europe, and Japan with over 500 performances including appearances at Lollapalooza, Coachella, among others. In 2014 he was awarded an Artist Opportunity Grant to support a residency at La Fragua, in Belalcazar, Spain. In early 2015 he mounted his first solo exhibition in partnership with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. He has composed music for film and television, most notably for the documentary Blood Brother, a 2013 Sundance Festival award winner.
September 13, 2014 - May 31, 2015
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