Medium Medium: New Age Art and Cookies

Seattle University’s Hedreen Gallery in the Lee Center for the Arts is launching a brave new conglomeration of media in an exhibition called “Medium Medium: Language in the Age of Digital Reproducibility,” curated by artist and arts writer Amanda Manitach.

The monthlong showcase will start with an opening reception on October 12 from 7 to 9 p.m., where all of the featured artists will be present to introduce work that has traveled through language and methods of materialization.

Featured artist, writer and lawyer Vanessa Place said that she’s interested in what curator Manitach will be doing with the exhibition, by “inviting people who are perhaps maybe primarily not visual artists to present in a gallery setting.”

“This idea [is that] where we’re at a time when there may be little distinction between the image and the word,” Manitach said.

Place will be presenting a piece called “Proust at 100,” an interpretation of a famous passage from French writer Marcel Proust’s “À la recherché du temps perdu” or “In Search of Lost Time.” The passage Place’s installation is based upon is renowned not only for its 4,000-odd pages, but also for its neuroscientific revelations regarding memory, disguised as allegorical prose.

“No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through me and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me,” wrote Proust of his stimulus-induced nostalgia.

He had what he called an involuntary memory triggered by the sensory perceptions of dipping a madeleine into a cup of tea.

“What I was thinking was, ‘what’s the contemporary equivalent…or the translation of that?’” Place said. “How could I translate Proust and that moment into something that had that involuntariness of something coming into being?”

Place decided that she would translate Proust’s epiphany into physical form. A prototype printer designed to reveal its inner workings will print 100 (inedible) madeleines over the course of the exhibition in honor of his most famous novel’s centennial.

Place refrained from divulging what she wants the audience to receive, but did say that she’s “happy about the opportunity to participate,” and thinks that it will provide “an opportunity for people to start thinking about these kinds of engagements and maybe some of the presumptions we have about the visual versus the verbal.”

Place will couple the unveiling of the installation with a reading of Proust at the opening reception, celebrating the collaboration of visual art and the written word.

Local author and wine shop owner Doug Nufer will also be featured with visual reproductions of his previous works, which are actually considered “Oulipian” works, or pieces written to fit a system self-imposed constraints. His most famous is the novel “Never Again,” in which no word appears more than once.

At the show’s opening, Nufer will perform passages from his book “Lounge Acts,” which he described as “a long list poem made up of the names of bar bands inspired by cocktail culture.”

“As both a consumer and a dispenser of alcohol, I have a long history of dealing with that sort of thing,” said Nufer. He clarified that he is normally a writer, but “Lounge Acts” is a project whose only apt expression would “be more than merely in book form.”

Nufer’s performance will be accompanied by guitarist Bill Horist and saxophonist Wally Shoup.

There will also be a short film by Amy Billharz based on Nufer’s homophone-heavy poem “The Damned.” Nufer intends to “present it where the words can just kind of take off.” The words will be taking off all month, screening on a loop at the Hedreen Gallery.

The featured artists were already connected prior to “Medium Medium”: writer and artist Mathew Timmons’ publishing company published Place’s “Tragodía” trilogy as well as Nufer’s “Lounge Acts.” Place’s publishing company published Timmons’s “The New Poetics” and Nufer’s “By Kelman Out Of Pessoa.”

Timons and artist Greg Curtis will debut a collaborative “two-channel video installation” called “Good News! Good News!” and a performance with artist and musician Geneva Skeen. The nature of the debut, save for a few details, will remain a mystery until opening night.