Technology Doomed for Obsolescence- Ian Colon @ The Contaminate 2 Festival

We live in a society where technology is evolving to have fewer and fewer wires.  As our technologies become more mobile, they become more integrated into the rhythms of our daily lives.  Deep in The Present Tense Archives, we found a piece that used cords from an obsolete and nostalgic technology  to confront issues around voyeurism, surveillance, and ideas around the post human body.






Ian Colon "Chasing the Dragon" 2007


For The Present Tense and TEST’s Contaminate 2 Festival, Ian Colon tied a video camera that faced behind him into his hair.  The camera fed into a television that he held inches away from his face.  He began to sprint around the space, navigating the environment only through the lens of the immediate past.  As the piece evolved, Colon increasingly grew disoriented.  His body reached physical fatigue as it tangled in the cords that hung from the television and camera.  This revealed the impossibility of sustaining the action, questioning the complicated relationships that humans of the 21st century have built and continue to build with technology.


Ian Colon "Chasing the Dragon" 2007

Christopher Robbins @ Contaminate 3

The Present Tense takes the month of August off from posting on the archive.   This summer, we would like to leave you  with a video by Christopher Robbins that we screened as part of the Contaminate 3 Festival in 2007.



“I’d like there to be a story about a man who made a birdhouse big enough for him to sleep in,

and then dragged it to the ocean.  And I’d like that story to be true”-  Christopher Robbins


Come back and check us out in September.  We have a lot of exciting things planned…an artist exchange between Boston and Chicago, a live art documentation exhibition, more series, more interviews, and more features from our archive!

Happy Summer!

Farewell to Big Red and Shiny

Last week, Big Red and Shiny, an arts journal that served as a staple in the Boston art scene for the last 6 years, launched their final issue. After providing our community a forum to challenge and create dialogue around the state of the arts in New England, Founder, Matt Nash decided to “close up shop and make way for the next group of motivated artists to build a voice for their community.” Nash points out that Big Red and Shiny had been online a full third of the life of the Internet and lists poignant changes that the Internet has endured through the years. Nash expresses gratitude for the endless art, food, and music blogs that have sifted through content, providing him with the knowledge of “how best to spend the few years I have on this earth”. As I read Nash’s farewell, the worry lines began to subside and I became filled with hope and excitement for the future. In this move to end, Big Red calls upon the creatively minded to meet the challenge of building platforms for one another while simultaneously filtering through the blossoming chaos present in the internet age.

Big Red and Shiny has been crucial to The Present Tense’s evolution. It has been a cheerleader, a source of inspiration, and brain candy for us over the years, publishing interviews about our endeavors, posting our calls, and giving me another platform to publish my writing. In my grieving for the end of one of my favorite Art Journals, I have concluded that it takes courage to end something good to make room for the equally tenacious.

Because the Big Red and Shiny archive is uncertain, check out these Present Tense related posts:

Contaminate 1

Seconds Festival

Contaminate 2

Contaminate 3

Interview with Sandrine & Phil

Revolt2Die @ MEME

Sandrine’s review of The Human Cost of War

Alternative Art Spaces

Sandrine’s Review of X Me Lab


Summer warms Boston as The Present Tense stretches it’s limbs and wipes hibernation from it’s eyes.  In our somnolence, visions of the future abound!  As of June 1 The Present Tense has moved on from MEME Gallery to explore new curatorial terrain.  We are also investigating our roles as creators, nestling into new bodies of work.  We are observing, digesting, contemplating, strategizing, dreaming, growing, learning, and hoping.  In times of change we are driven to revisit the constant thread that has lead us to our present space:  the affinity of our collaboration.

"Hunt Togather" 2005, International Performance Art Congress, Muenster, Germany "Their Not Biting.  I'm Not Itching" 2005, International Performance Art Congress, Sacremento, CA "Russell Square" 2006 Contaminate I, Boston, MA

"Transaction" 2004 TEST 4, Boston, MA
We began by tasting one another’s conceptual process and aesthetic while simultaneously searching for common ground.

Our process developed to acknowledge the exercise of meeting in the middle.

"Diamond Theory" 2010, Mobius' ArtRages, East Boston, MA

Our process has evolved to mimic the shape of a diamond.

“Congratulations on your Empire” was our first experience within the walls of MEME (then 55 Gallery). It evolved with an intentional beginning, middle, and end, that shed new light on our potential as collaborators.  Shortly after, 55 was gifted to us and MEME emerged.  Today begins MEME’s 2nd cycle.  Alice Vogler, Dirk Adams, and Vela Phelan will continue with MEME, bringing it into a new epoch.  As we examine the future of our collaboration and The Present Tense, we eagerly anticipate MEME’s development and we feel sincere gratitude for having the opportunity to contribute to it’s genesis.

Vela Phelan @ Contaminate I

From 2006-2009, The Present Tense operated primarily out of Fort Point and more specifically, Midway Studios. We had access to multiple spaces and were able to organize events without having to pay anything, something we took advantage as much as possible. 9 Events later, the spaces became occupied by companies and are no longer available for what we were using them for.
The "Theatre Space" at Midway Studios
The first of over 70 performances that took place in midway was Vela Phelan’s “Absolute Repent” at Contaminate I. I didn’t know it at the time because it was the first encounter I had ever had with Vela’s work, but it contained all the elements that make up one of his pieces. Gods/Icons, Digital/Analog, Person/Creature, Order/Chaos. Vela’s work exists simultaneously in two different dimensions. In this realm, Vela is shaking to a strobe light, in another, we are all in a club in Mexico City, our families are there, and everything smells like cereal and charcoal.