Spotlight: Pucker up

Thomas Edison, Library of Congress

Thomas Edison, Library of Congress

by Mimi Montgomery

Ingrid Bergman summed it up best: “A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous.”

Explore a language beyond words at Flanders Gallery’s Public Displays exhibit this month – because sometimes you don’t need to say anything at all. Architect and artist Louis Cherry, together with Marsha Gordon, Jason Evans Groth, Josephine McRobbie, and Trevor Thornton of N.C. State’s film studies and library departments, join forces to collaborate on an interactive video installation and performance piece that explores public displays of affection. Does this hyper-connected age of constant sharing, the installation asks, cause us to alter our behavior towards others?

Taking a cue from Thomas Edison’s 1896 short film featuring a kiss between actors May Irwin and John Rice, the artists will provide an open call to the public on February 5 and 14: Any willing, able-bodied romantics can come to the gallery and share a kiss. And yes, it will be filmed.

These new clips will be projected in the gallery alongside Edison’s original piece throughout the month and will later be mixed with his film to be part of a final video installation. If smooching in public isn’t your forte, simply come out and see the exhibit for yourself. It’s the perfect antidote to a traditional Valentine’s Day activity: playful and fun while also thought-provoking and artistic. And no one has to fight for a dinner reservation.

February 5, 6 – 9 p.m., February 14, 5 – 9 p.m.; videos on display throughout February; 505 S. Blount St.;