For the past several weeks, there has been a lot of clamor coming from 445 and 449 Cooke Street. I heard something big was going down, but didn’t know too many details. When I walked into the warehouse, I was hit with the glow of multiple video installations playing simultaneously, providing the majority of the evening’s lighting. One of the most visually engaging pieces was Manila-based artist Mark Salvatus’ Current Affair$, a seizure-inducing barrage of currencies flashing so fast it was hard to make out which country each bill came from.

My personal favorite installation was Drew Broderick’s Matson container wall of equidistantly spaced automatic air fresheners, the big, bulky timed aerosol variety you see in upscale public restrooms. What was it saying? Was it a metaphor for the packaging of paradise, or merely a courteous and charitable response to the ongoing sewage construction in the area? This Louis Vuitton print of sanitation was not only a spectacle for the eyes and mind, but also for the nose, as the air was perpetually perfumed with a light tropical aroma. Poor timing traversing the rest of the gallery led me to erroneously believe that one piece was perpetually scrolling credits, which I thought was kind of a cool idea until I was corrected.


Simultaneously and around the corner, SPF Projects on 729 Auahi Street had a coordinated interactive video installation in which participants became triangularly pixelated versions of themselves that snow polygonal flakes, which accumulated into oddly shaped piles reminiscent of coral reefs. Boops and bleeps sounded like a science-fiction coffee machine percolating in the background. Upstairs was a pitch-black room with a single stool and a mesmerizing video of meditative dance superimposed upon itself. Subtle differences in synchronized movements created a Vishnu effect of multiple limbs appearing and disappearing.

These works were all a part of Honolulu Biennial Foundation’s Chain of Fire prologue exhibition for the 2016 Honolulu Biennial. The foundation seeks to place Honolulu’s underground artists among their geographical contemporaries in the Ring of Fire around the Pacific Ocean. Because of Hawaii’s geographically isolated location, it seems that some of our top local artists don’t always get the broader recognition that they deserve. Bringing Honolulu to the stage as a center for international arts may change that in the future, so if this was a look at things to come, I’m excited for the future.

If you want to see something cool right now, Kauai artist Sally French has a show up in the Commons Gallery at University of Hawaii at Manoa. Sally Is In The Building! is a culmination of her time as Artist in Residency at UH Manoa’s Print Making department. The show runs until Nov. 14. If you have a free afternoon, you can bring lunch and make a picnic out of it. Or you can visit memory lane and find out if you actually do miss school cafeteria food.