Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Dude where is my peace pipe dream?

Still from "Dude Where Is My Plane?"

By Bonner Sale

Upon watching "Dude where is my plane?" one would gather the free spirit and humor that artist Josh Baptista has to offer. It’s a video piece where two boys on a balcony in New York send a large cardboard air plane across the street and on to the facing building's roof top. The video opens up with a shot of the cardboard air plane with "Save the world" across it as an animated shooting star christens the piece with humor of such an innocent thought on hope. Vince Guaraldi's "Christmas time is here" starts to play as a voice says "What up bitch, save the world."

The video is a curious gesture that two boys can send a cardboard air plane across the street as an attempt to save the world, if not saving it, just making the world a little bit better. In today's society of expensive promises and sensationalist media, it’s a reassurance that somewhere someone is enjoying life's simple pleasures. Baptista does just that and shows a genuine interest for alternative achievement and friendship, creating a simple paper airplane and throwing it across a street and then filming that happening. Though many have done work like this before- like Yoko Ono- it has tended to fall flat as a whimsical gesture opposed to a great idea that nobody has thought of. But unlike Ono, Baptista considered the raw element of human emotions displayed in his argument for peace.

When the plane finally lands, Baptista tells the camera operator to turn the camera on himself to share the credit for this great act of endearment: "Turn that shit onto yourself," as the operator and Baptista continue to chant "What up bitch, save the world."

What up bitch, indeed. The quote almost serves as a new slogan said over and over again explaining to the viewer that it is up to themselves to save the world or their world. Is it that easy to save the world though? With the problems and identities that surround his other work, one would have to guess that most signs point to no, but Baptista much like the Beatles before him has a gift and practice to show and if the work is in coalition with good will toward man, let it be.

Ugh, Beatles puns, the worst. The piece gives nothing of what is wrong about the world but simply explains on how to make it better by a simple gesture of fun or engagement which is a facet lacking in Baptista's other political or social commentary art work.

The title is a play on the film "Dude Where is my Car?" a stoner comedy directed by Danny Leiner. Or even better, "Dude Where is my Country?" a preachy political satire written by Michael Moore. The film seems to lay somewhere between the two great "Dudes where is my...?" genre in that it is a political piece but it also has a warm-hearted feeling throughout the video.

At the end of the day with all the elements added up, the video stands strong against the almost transparent attributes of a peace piece. With much to do with the raw human factor that could only be caught at that one time making a cardboard airplane fly over a street, and certainly the human factor is very present in all of Baptista's work as well as in this video performance "Dude where is my plane?"

Check out "Dude Where Is My Plane?" at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zLd2bgK8wA

1 comment:

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