After a dinner party in Noe Valley, I was struck by something alive on the living room wall. It was a black and white image of the steps of the New York Public Library, superimposed with the moving shadows of pedestrians. In this simple projection, the artist-electrician had distilled the essence of the human form.
I scribbled down the name: Jim Campbell, and discovered his current exhibit, Home Movies at the Berkeley Art Museum. Entering an expansive, dimly lit level of the museum, I walked up close to a grid of light bulbs, and blinked as I staggered back across the barren floor to a bench at the other end of the room.
I watched the fuzzy projection of seemingly random trees, roads, and hills. It seemed anticlimactic -- calm and melancholy.
The stranger beside me was stooped over his chin studying the Jim Campbell projection. "What do you think?" I asked.
"It's strange," he replied, "It's like the memories I have."
And then eeriness washed over me. "Yeah." My eyes were hooked. "Me too," I said. "They're like my memories too."
Jim Campbell has distilled the essence of human experience yet again.
How did he create this piece? What was his process? What had he hoped to convey? Questions swirled, so I sought out Jim Campbell for his insights and his answers.