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Infinite Jest


Dundee Contemporary Arts until August 26th 2012
4 stars
With a title taken from David Foster Wallace’s footnote-friendly novel, 
going round in circles is the preserve of all three artists in DCA’s 
fun-packed summer special of a show. Where the videos of Brazilian 
interventionist Cinthia Marcelle subvert noisy city-scapes with 
meticulously orchestrated real-time arrangements, Rob Pruitt is all 
high-class paddling pools, monster-size cookies and down-time denim. 
London-born William Mackrell continues the party theme with birthday 
cake-sized illuminations that may burn fast, but which leave a 
lunar-etched after-glow to bask in.

There’s fire from the off via Marcelle’s video piece,’ Confronto’, 
setting out its store on a monitor that wilfully obstructs the gallery 
entrance. Onscreen, a group of fire jugglers stop the traffic, 
increasing in number as their routine moves from red-light 
entertainment to green-light environmental alchemy. Marcelle’s 
similarly-inclined ‘Volta ae Mondo (Round the World)’ goes even 
further, as increasing numbers of white vans circumnavigate a 
roundabout ad nauseum. Such an elaborately choreographed urban 
merry-go-round resembles the staging of a carefully planned heist; The 
Brazilian Job, if you will.

Mackrell too explores the performative, the playful and the political, 
 from ‘90 Minutes’, in which a concrete football sits at the centre of 
the gallery waiting for kick-off, to the glorious ‘1000 Candles’, in 
which 1000 tea candles are captured as a photograph, on film and, 
health-and-safety permitting, from flame-on mode to last-gasp flickers. 
Onscreen especially, the effect is of some orbiting planet moving from 
dawn to dusk.

If Pruitt’s ‘Evian Fountain’ is a very expensive splash-about, his 
oversize and indisputably toothsome biscuits in’ Pop-Pop’s 
Chocolate-Chip Cookie’s suggests Roald Dahl reconfiguring Charlie and 
the Chocolate Factory in Lilliput. Pruitt’s two takes on ‘Esprit de 
Corps’, meanwhile, fills classic blue jeans with concrete and cotton, 
then sews them together in a body-melding mirror-image which, as with 
Marcelle and Mackrell’s work, contorts reality enough to drive it round 
the bend.

The List, July 2012

ends



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