January 14, 2006. Page E-10
By Kenneth Baker
Finley and Muse at Sweetow: Under the title “Clockwork,” Bay Area videomakers Jeanne C. Finley and John Muse present four new multichannel works at Sweetow.
Using multiple fixed cameras, they took half-second shots every half minute over 16 consecutive hours. They focused on a hairdresser (“Shampoo”), a dentist (“Drill”), a masseuse (“Massage”) and a sleepover birthday party (“Birthday”).
The artists say they intended to “restructure the long arc of these intimate relations, revealing otherwise invisible habits of work and play.” But the pieces have primarily the effect of revealing the adults’ working lives as oppressively routinized, despite the human traffic passing through them. By contrast the children’s encounters appear filled with unvoiced tensions that they still have some license to dispel through restlessness and rowdiness.
Finley and Muse bring such intelligence to their projects that any of them merits watching at least once. The surprise here, though, is how little “Clockwork” has to tell about our time.