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Arts & Culture

At Blue Star: Is Loving Your Smart Phone Smart?

In case you wonder whether or not you spend too much time tinkering on your smart phone, your tablet, on Facebook or Twitter, a new Blue Star exhibit suggests—you’re right—you do! I put down my Iphone long enough to file this story.

“My name’s Tommy Gregory; I’m a Houston-based artist.”

As I approached Gregory at the Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum, he was—you guessed it—on his Iphone. But minutes later, that changed.

“I’m giving, quite literally, my device.”

As a work of art for his exhibit called "Loading" Gregory put his phone on a pedestal, turned it on and is leaving it there for a month.

“Most people I know, they go to sleep to it and wake up next to it.  It’s going to be a nice challenge to say ‘I’m not going to touch this for a month.’”

For another piece in his installation, he also created some actual Daguerreotypes, but with highly unusual subject matter.

“We did 35 millimeter photographs of my Iphones with portraits, selfies and some screen-shotted images of Facebook messages.”

I speculated that they may be the only selfie Daguerreotypes in existence. He laughed and agreed.

“Probably the only selfie Daguerreotypes in the world!”

And then there’s the big, rusty-looking retro neon piece.

“The neon piece is called loading," said Gregory.

The concept is that it’s like that pill-shaped 'loading' icon you get when video’s loading on your computer. The neon Gregory has created animates in circular fashion.

“It’s a complex piece. It’s the most difficult wiring job I’ve ever done on a neon piece, and I’ve done a fair amount.”

I noted to him that humor isn’t always apart of modern art, but it’s definitely a part of this installation. He agreed.

"I take art making seriously, but I don’t take the content and the subject matter so seriously,” he said.

Click here for more on the Blue Star Exhibit.