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Your Finest Hour – Artists JEFF & GORDON help people create their dreams of success

JEFF & GORDON PHOTO

JEFF & GORDON PHOTO

How do you define success? Is it that gold watch? Is it holding that golden statuette? Is it standing on the podium as confetti cascades down? Is it the roar of the crowd? Or a quiet moment? And what is success anyway? Something that takes decades to achieve? Or a year? What about a week?

These are questions the art duo Jeff Foye and Gordon Winiemko, also known as JEFF & GORDON (and sometimes, to confuse NASCAR fans, Jeff Gordon), have been mulling over. They are also questions they want you to ask yourself as part of their interactive art piece, “Moment of Glory.” This free event takes place this coming First Thursday at the always boundary-pushing Contemporary Arts Forum.

“The imagery of success is so pervasive,” says Mr. Foye. “But it’s a relatively new thing too.”

“It doesn’t matter how you get there, and nobody cares how you get there,” Mr. Winiemko says. “But what’s important that you have moment of glory that is a public mediated moment.”

To help people realize their moment, the two are setting up a green screen for the public to stand in front of, and through live video mixing, superimpose their chosen locations — a stadium, a stage, an island — based on discussions with the artist. Props will be available, as will assistants and “extras” to help celebrate. There will be applause and pats on the back.

“We’re gonna channel a bit of the ‘life coach,’ ” says Mr. Winiemko, “So in one part of the gallery you’ll see the people in front of the green screen, but in another part you’ll see them on video in their ‘special place.’ ”

Is it silly? Yes. Is it meant to make you think? Also a yes.

These two artists, who met while attending separate art schools (Mr. Foye at Cal State Long Beach, Mr. Winiemko at UC Irvine), have been making multi-media performances as JEFF&GORDON since their show at HAUS gallery in Pasadena. Earlier, the two were featured on the 2007 Soundwalk installation in Long Beach, but had yet to combine forces.

All along the two have explored the ever-shifting boundaries of personal and private lives in the Internet era, and have used their installations to invite the public to interact and answer their own hypotheses about how we live and perceive ourselves. “Moment of Glory” casts the two as friendly producers to the movie that runs in our heads.

“Because we do these works that take these gestures and customs from the social sphere and interact with the public, the work ends up as a social experiment,” says Mr. Winiemko. “Our individual identities are formed by these customs, but it’s reciprocal. You can enter into it and use them as you want for yourself. We are all creating this mass culture. It’s like language. Nobody decides to create a new word, but new words are growing up among us all the time.”

“We’ve been Googling ‘moment of glory’ and it’s all sports,” says Mr. Foye. “Yet at the same time there’s a ban on grandstanding, or ‘excessive celebration.’ ”

“But I think that’s why sports are huge in our society,” Mr. Winiemko says. “Because it’s a kind of theater where you can see these ideas acted out in these broad strokes.”

JEFF & GORDON
‘Moment Of Glory’
Where: Santa Barbara Contemporary Art Forum, Paseo Nuevo
When: 7 p.m. Thurs.
Cost: Free
Information: www.sbcaf.org

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