Daniel Barrow, Everytime I See Your Picture I Cry
By Jens Larson
It’s safe to say that liking art and appreciating art are vastly different propositions, so while viewers may not “like” Daniel Barrow’s Every Time I See Your Picture I Cry (it is, after all, a bit deviant and defies more than several narrative conventions), most will appreciate the skill behind its creation.
Barrow’s performance combines live narration, an original musical score, hand drawn art, a bit of video, and the dexterous use of an overhead projector (which is not quite obsolete, it seems). Throughout the hour-long performance, Barrow and his assistant cycle through a series of transparencies as Barrow tells his tale. A Christmas-y, bell-filled soundtrack supports the show, which is quite possibly one of the most unique and intriguing performances at TBA this year and certainly one of the performances most in keeping with the festival’s mission.
Reminiscent of comics (something Harvey Pekar-ish), college lecture courses (Barrow’s project was born when he decided to parody one of his teachers) and magic lanterns, the piece has a pre-film quality to it, yet it is amazing what Barrow can achieve with limited special affects, a few optical tricks, and the layering of multiple images.
While the plot may leave something to be desired (a garbage man gathers collected waste in order to create an emotional phone book of the town’s citizens; the local serial killer stalks the garbage man; and all of this occurs because of physical and mental trauma suffered during elementary school), and while the narrator’s philosophical and artistic asides have an Ira Glass-like resignation, the visual display is masterful.