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Rants & Raves: Art with some pop

January 11, 2004 . Encore . Page 1E

By Steve Penhollow, The Journal Gazette
 
It is either the most boisterous art event Fort Wayne has ever seen or the brainiest club event. Either way, you gotta go, especially if you're sick to death of the gentility of most art openings or the droning oafishness of club-going.
 
It's called "Pop Filter," and it will be from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. Saturday at Avant-Garde Gallery, 1301 Lafayette St. Pop Filter is the brainchild of local artist Matt Stuart, local news anchor Janette Luu, and local gadfly Matt Gallaway. There will be art to lackadaisically gaze at, of course, and appetizers to avidly scarf. But the exhibit is not limited to what's on the walls.
 
Nearly everything that happens during Pop Filter's eight-hour span will be "filmed," (shot on video, in other words), some of it for posterity and some of it for immediate broadcast on extant screens. Cameramen will roam, and everyone who walks in the door will, therefore, become part of the overall, ever-morphing, ultimately incalculable exhibit.
 
"You're making it happen," Luu says. "It's an immersive, subversive experience."
 
Stuart says: "We're creating realities and lifestyles for people to immerse themselves in." Clandestine actors will launch into real-seeming scenarios scenarios designed to spur spontaneous reactions in the unsuspecting.
 
"There's going to be some high drama," Stuart says. "It's going to end in tears.
 
"What we're doing is setting a bunch of things in motion," he says, "letting them unfold and documenting them. But we'll also be shaping and directing them." There will be performances by bands sequestered in faraway rooms and live feeds from Europe. Anywhere one looks, there may be a grain of truth or a pound of bull stuff. Unlike some multimedia art shows that seem like flea markets of the avant garde, Pop Filter should all make sense at the end.
 
"We're trying to avoid the 'bunch of stuff' phenomenon," Stuart says. "We want everything to be cohesive. Everything goes through the pop filter." This will be the first in a series of Pop Filter events. Stuart, using language more often employed by burger chain execs discussing a new mayo, characterizes this inaugural happening as a "brand launch." He wants to blur the lines between art and commerce, a tack likely to sit unwell with the old guard.
 
"Let's hope so," he says. "Offending some purists is a good thing."