From Red to Rainbow {1989}

Laurel Beckman

1989: From Red to Rainbow, set against a score that mixes music from the 1989 premiering musical, "Miss Saigon", and 'ping' noise compositions, features the humble potato in a shape-shifting role as a screen to the past, a food staple, an exchanged vegetable, and finally, an allusive object of desire. 1989 was a pivotal year that saw enormous shifts in global politics in addition to the deployment of critical technologies that have changed our lives: GPS and html (facilitating the internet)- both technologies facilitating an idea of ourselves and each other through locative and associative information. Well historicized revolutions in China, Germany, throughout Eastern Europe, and in South Africa, where citizens pushed against repressive communist states, coalesced in a forceful world-wide argument for increased popular control. The defacto turn from communism towards the radiant western promise of capitalism signaled faith in the redemptive potential of a free market. Our reductive view of history- exacerbated by what we watch and do on a screen, overlooks the necessary messiness of human desire and action. The video inserts moments of virtual re-purposing among historical footage as it acknowledges red as the color of both communism and revolution, and the spectral rainbow representing freedom, optimism, and a kind of dreaminess that defies containment.
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