January First Friday

Comics, tech and outsourced performance art opening this month.

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Rainstorms Projected: Video by Jason Varone at Locks Gallery’s Alterations.

Virtual Assistance

Andrew Norman Wilson’s Virtual Assistance, the opening show of Extra Extra’s new digs, examines and disrupts the labor flows structured by Get Friday, a “life outsourcing company” based out of Bangalore, India. Get Friday, a company praised by world-flattening globalization junkie Thomas Friedman, provides virtual personal assistants to predominantly American clients for a monthly fee that comes out, on average, to about $10/hour.

Andrew signed up, enlisting his assigned 25-year-old virtual assistant Akhil as a collaborator on several art projects—all part of the greater project of turning the proscribed one-way roles of outsourcing into something that flows both ways across the virtual channel. “Can my relationship,” Wilson asks, “become a device for altering the work conditions of Get Friday?”

The small projects called for varied levels of participation, leadership and direction from both men. Examples: The Toy Boat Task—Akhil drew up a construction manual for a battery-powered toy boat he made as a kid, Wilson made a few and mailed one to Bangalore for Akhil to play with. The Work Station Task—Akhil made a spreadsheet of the objects in his work space, then the two imagined how each could be used if Bangladore’s IT boom went bust and the Get Friday employees had to live in their office, like a cubicle/sleeping pad, a computer encasement/grill, cables/clotheslines, etc. Wilson and Akhil continue to collaborate; at Jan. 28’s closing reception, they’ll both be at Extra Extra for a PowerPoint presentation of their accomplishments. (Elliott Sharp)

6pm. Free. Extra Extra, 1524 Frankford Ave. eexxttrraa.com

Alterations

Digital tools are not new to art, but some artists are fascinated with the way new technology is changing art. Alterations, a group show at Locks Gallery, takes a look at just that. While this might not sound like a laugh-out-loud topic at first, the mix of video and installation includes some fun stuff.

Curated by video artist Peter Campus, the five-person exhibit explores not only how eerily technology can mimic art, but how much humor resides in the Venn diagram overlap of old-fashioned “ahhhht” and new-fangled tech. Campus’ video of a barn, for example, has been pixilated almost beyond recognition. The result? An almost pointillist painting of a barn by Charles Sheeler circa 1925—what goes around comes around. It’s a beautiful image, and it raises ideas about the importance of icons and how they transcend time and media. Jason Varone’s cartoon cloud on a wall with a projected image that makes it seem as if there’s cartoon rain falling down the gallery wall. Not quite Disney, yet Disney-sprited—Alterations will get you thinking about the art of Tomorrowland. (Roberta Fallon)

5:30pm. Locks Gallery, 600 S. Washington Sq., 215.629.1000. locksgallery.com

CGI vs. Forming

Anyone who still says there’s a debate about the artistic value of comics and cartoons has been living in a dungeon for the past 25 years. This week’s show at Space 1026 celebrates the work of two strong, independent creators. First, Lance Simmons, a graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design’s sequential-art program (the Harvard of comics) and a presence on the Philly alt-comic scene (anyone read The Owl ?) will be showing works on paper and books. His work is surreal and cutting, a world away from the navel-gazing comic zines of the early decade. Further, the show serves as the launch of Simmons' publishing microcompany, C.G.I. (Cartoon Graphics Imaging).

Second, there’s multitalented Jesse Moynihan—former PW contributor (the comic Kime Agine), member of the band Make a Rising, illustrator of Philly album art and winner of an ultra-prestigious Xeric grant for self-publishing comics. While Moynihan spends half his time in L.A., where he works on the Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time, he’s one of the most established members of the Philadelphia underground comics scene. He’ll be showing the first hundred pages of Forming , his mega-epic psychedelic creation story that breaks all the rules of webcomics—it’s serial, complex and hand-painted with no one-off gags or cut-and-paste. Each page is a work of art, and it’s presented as such here. (Alli Katz)

7pm. Space 1026, 1026 Arch St. 215.574.7630. space1026.com.

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