"At your turning, each part of my body turns to verb," writes Evan Zimroth, in his poem Talk, You. The writing forms the individual letters that play across the screen in Text Rain, the video work from 1999, by Romy Achituv and Camille Utterback. Featured in the current exhibition, Watch This! Revelations in Media Art, Text Rain remains on view at SAAM through September 7.
Some works of art get people talking. This one does the communicating for you. Standing in front of a large projection screen, the video invites viewers to participate, to use, in Utterback's words, "... the familiar instrument of their bodies, to do what seems magical: to lift and play with falling letters that do not really exist."
Once the letters land on your shoulders like rain or snow, you'll begin to move. Your inner Isadora will be released and, even if others are watching, you'll perform. An arm, both arms, a leg, all the while the letters seem to be adhering to the outline of your body. This is choreographed, moveable type.
Text Rain has caught the imagination of our visitors who are sending out images of their Text Rain portraits via social media. Though created sixteen years ago, the work has a freshness due to its playfulness, thoughtfulness, and perhaps prescient nature into how museum-goers would evolve into active participants in museum experiences.
Only a few weeks remain before Watch This! closes September 7. Visit, and I promise, your body, too, will transform from noun to verb.