“Pretty Meaningless Things,” a solo exhibition by Providence- based multimedia artist Mark Cetilia, will be presented from September 15 through October 15 at Chazan Gallery at Wheeler. Recently, I had a series of conversations with the artist about artwork for the show and his career. He had finished the 3D graphic modeling for visuals to be included in the exhibition and was in the midst of completing the analog/digital sound compositions he planned to incorporate into the show. Cetilia said that he expects to create a relationship between the external sound recordings and each video. His plan is that the gallery will be darkened with the only light being that of his large-scale video projection. He expects that the overall feel will be immersive.
Cetilia’s 3D computer generated imagery (or CGI forms) were created using Rhino and Cycling 74’s Max software, which he designed and coded to have indeterminate growth. Visually, the forms create a kind of textural moray as they move around their space, each of the five differently, but representing connected ideas. Aimed directly opposite the videos will be directional speakers on microphone stands, that will play Cetilia’s sound recordings. The sound can be heard with greatest clarity when directly in front of each video. As a person moves away from a projection, the experience of sound becomes less distinct, and more ambient.
I asked Cetilia, “What makes your work unique?” Although he didn’t answer specifically, he did email a number of links to give me a sense of his various solo projects and performances, some of these with collaborators. He also sent links by artists whose work he admires. All this gave me insight into the niche he occupies as an artist.
Cetilia told me that his work is informed by John Cage’s sensibility of indeterminacy. I added that he was also influenced by the pioneering careers of Nam June Paik and Laurie Anderson because without these two artists, new media as a genre wouldn’t exist. Cetilia later shared the coincidence that Laurie Anderson had been the keynote speaker at his Rhode Island School of Design graduation.