2nd Year Reviews: Bob Falcone by Jing He

Robert Falcone is reaching a profound concept of Memento Mori by seeking the absurdities of existence and questioning death, using a combination of images, sound, and alienated space to interact with audiences. The emotion and views of spectators have also been captured/collected as parts of his narrative, and then viewed as a whole entity by others. Despite the philosophies, sciences, and religions, there is no fixed answer behind the endless inquiry. It’s the inquiry itself both from the artist and what’s being evoked from viewers when they encounter the artist’s question: what to believe?

There has always been a great sense of intellect of Robert in his work. Both technically and conceptually. I consider Robert as a mixed media artist. He combines sounds, images and, spaces together and makes them interactive. I still remember his prototype from the first semester, which is a sound installation with paintings of simple color squares. When people got closer to certain colors, they heard specific sounds. And when they walked away, the sound disappeared. The most fascinating part to me is that process of making sound strategically stronger as the viewer walks closer and weaker as the viewer walks away. The whole piece was very compelling. Later Robert took that even further and the concepts started to attract me even more.

I was impressed by his installation “Earworm” earlier in this semester. Although Robert still considered the installation as a prototype, this project included a small gallery space with images, sounds of viewers’ conversations, interactions of the audience inside the “Earworm room,” and viewers outside the “room.” There was a certain isolated, alienated atmosphere in the space that made you feel you were locked in and couldn’t escape. The best part for me was the peek hole on the door. I could see the participator(viewer) who was listening to the catchy music and controlling the switch. The image I saw through the hole was distorted due to the convex lens. This created an interesting conversation between multiple audiences from different spaces and perspectives. Immediately, I couldn’t wait to see how the concept would be enriched or changed when he added images and other elements. The song Robert put in the room may is a catchy song sample. I hadn’t heard the song before, so it took me awhile to get familiar with the rhythm and get the feeling related to Earworm. Here I already experienced a cultural barrier and the process of crossing it. What if the sound was the conversation or comments about the images of Memento Mori? Not like a catchy song, death is a complex concept and reality, yet still full of mystery. It not only varies from cultural to culture internationally, it differs in every individual’s mind. What kind of spark there would be when different values and ideologies if they were encountered in Robert’s space?

View “Earworm” here

I’m not sure what Robert’s final project would be. However, I do feel his works are always questioning, doubting, and seeking the infinite realm of the universe. And it’s worth doing. This kind of ambition does not just come from Robert himself. It has been embedded in human instinct. Robert is a knowledgeable and mature artist, who also has a great ability to collaborate with other artists. I have full confidence and excitement in his coming artworks.

To learn more about Bob’s work and his process please visit http://refalcone.tumblr.com/

As part of the second-year graduates’ Thesis Projects I course, candidates were each assigned two of their cohort to review. As students begin writing their thesis papers and constructing artist statements, this review process proves to be beneficial twofold. Students not only exercise their written critique skills, but are able to read about their own project from other voices. Over the next few weeks we’ll be posting these reviews, so be sure to visit regularly for insights and photos of the second years’ progress!

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