September 26, 2008

Talking Stone presents riot

Tamara Browning:  American Indian artist focuses on race riotAmerican Indian visual and performance artist JAMES LUNA of San Diego already had his multimedia installation show “TALKING STONES” in mind when he was invited to participate in a citywide memorial exhibition.

“Talking Stones” is part of “Through the Eyes of Artists: Looking Back, Looking Forward,” which notes the Springfield race riot of 1908.

For the most part, Luna’s installation in the Visual Arts Gallery at the University of Illinois at Springfield includes individual pillars that each hold video players shining images up through cast-resin stones. Sounds emit from audio equipment, giving the stones a “voice.”

“Then OK, what would represent the riot portion?” Luna recalls thinking when putting his concept together.

The pillar that represents the race riot features a cast-resin brick through which images of flames sear from below. Anguished sounds surround the installation.

“Rather than a stone, I have a brick. Sort of represent the destruction. Underneath it I have fire,” says Luna, who is retired as an academic counselor.

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