Still Life Frankenfoods at Spacetaker ARC

We know of course that Steve Jobs saved America with his genius for must-have gadgets, long live Steve Jobs. And we know it's foolish to argue with conventional wisdom about these things, but just for a second let's consider what a brilliant idea it would have been if Steve Jobs had hooked us up to a bulb of garlic instead of a digital music player. Passersby would recognize our stink as a signal that, in fact, we were hip to the latest trends in vegetable technology. Not only that: Apple-supported Vampire Protection.

The garlic iPod is just one of the bizarre still-lifes by artist Magid Salmi at the upcoming Spacetaker ARC exhibit "Alternate Reality." A recent transplant from Paris, Salmi takes perishable items and tricks them out in sometimes humorous, sometimes quite disturbing gear: wires, bolts, transistors and ear buds.

Maybe you've heard of "Frankenfood." These still-life photographs are rather more visibly monstrous. As Salmi put it, "It's important to me that my work contains some sort of social commentary, but I also want to find a connection with my audience by utilizing and transforming items that everyone might be familiar with." In fact, it's the very familiarity of these objects that makes his statements so compelling.

Just think of how familiar your iPod is to you now. If an apple can be digital, then these shocking specimens can't be very far behind.

"Alternate Reality" opens at the Spacetaker ARC on Friday, November 4, with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. It runs through December 2. Spacetaker ARC is located at 2101 Winter Street, and is always free. For information, go to spacetaker.org or call 713-868-1836.

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