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Secret Agency

Robert Hengeveld's exhibit Agency asks interesting questions about technology, reliance and nature.

Robert Hengeveld's “Kentucky Perfect” lawn is anything but. - ROBERT HENGEVELD
  • Robert Hengeveld
  • Robert Hengeveld's “Kentucky Perfect” lawn is anything but.

The gallery's quiet, which makes the whirring of Robert Hengeveld's two installations even more striking. "Kentucky Perfect" (pictured) is a length of sod contained in a narrow aluminum structure. A wheeled light travels its length, periodically interrupted by a reel mower or a misting of water. Despite the automatic timing, the lawn is dry, brown and sparse in parts. (Though I'm told it was brown when it arrived, so perhaps this is progress.) Competing for attention is an equally imperfect shrub, "Ghostrider," which is kept in shape by robotic arm trimmers and another lighting mechanism. It too looks like it's struggling. It's this particular imbalance that's so fascinating--- our desire to control and automate things for convenience, our reliance on machines and technology, and ultimately nature's inability to be both contained in this way and flourish, that makes Agency's contrasts so damn compelling.

To May 11, Eyelevel Gallery, 2159 Gottingen Street, 425-6412

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