Shoestring Theory

Currently documenting the house that is eating our lives, we will return to regularly scheduled programming in a couple of more months

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Speed’s Place: A fabulous discovery in the Unmuseum

April 4, 2008 at 2:28 pm by thetheorist

File under bizarre. We went to Cincinnati’s Contemporary Art Museum on March 22 (traveling for Easter weekend). On the top floor is the Unmuseum, a child themed, interactive display to entertain the kiddies (and the very young at heart, which happened to include our entire party).

The gem of the Unmuseum was Speed’s Place, a video art installation featuring a small room with an old movie projector and a bunch of antiques scattered about to create the feeling of some old timer’s work room (created by Michael C. McMillen). The projector played a fascinating video loop, but seemed odd installed in the kid’s floor of a museum. The video featured footage from World War II, old movie clips, skulls, distorted, horrifying faces and short, enigmatic quotes between scenes.

Speed's Place
Speed’s Place (pic by thetheorist).

One asked:

“Why does the working man die for corporate gain?” Ed Note – That isn’t a perfect quote, it went by before I could write it down and didn’t repeat again while I was sitting there watching it.

A trailer for the installation at, had this saying between scenes:

“I dreamed I had a three-way in Cincinnati.”

The entire installation was more horror movie than museum. The charm of the piece, for me, was finding such a dark and surreal piece of art on the kid’s floor of a museum. It was like finding a secret room in a strange house (which is how it was designed to feel). I wondered if the museum folk just couldn’t figure out where else to put it.

I just can’t imagine the logic behind the placement of this piece. Hmmm, let’s see:

Images of the dead, check.
Anti-capitalism messages, check.
Creepy images of distored faces and insects, check.
Sexual innuendos, check.

Let’s put it in the kid’s museum!

Most kids (especially the smaller ones) would probably wander straight out of this room after glancing at the projector and the junk, while only somebody obsessed with the bizarre would actually sit down and be captivated by it. It strikes me as a piece just waiting for controversy when some prude discovers some of its more disturbing elements and throws a hissy-fit to museum management. Maybe that’s why I like it so much. It appeals to my naturally subversive nature.

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