Key to Erbacher is interactivity
Sandra Erbacher’s “Standard Deviations” at GRIN in Providence is a lighthearted critique of institutions — museums and other bureaucracies — and the systems that run them. She mines their language and artifacts as if she were an archeologist trying to make sense of them, then adds comic twists.
“Goat Rodeo” is business jargon for chaos; Erbacher puts it in neon, as if it were blithely advertising a real rodeo with goats. “Gnaw. Museum Bench” is a standard maple bench, but it looks as if a beaver has chewed one of the legs. Is it a work of art that shouldn’t be touched? Or is it OK to sit on?
You can sit on it. Interaction with some of these works is key. Pick up “Hum,” an old wall-mounted rotary phone. On the other end, the artist reads words in a drone: “gasp, smack, swish,” she says robotically. It’s ridiculous. I laughed out loud. Erbacher finds the humor in organizational monotony, and in so doing, sows tiny seeds of revolt.
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