|  September 22, 2022

Dispatches from the FRONT Triennial: There’s still time to enjoy the big show before it ends Oct. 2

The nonprofit Spaces gallery, at 2900 Detroit Ave. in Ohio City’s Hingetown neighborhood, is offering several outstanding FRONT exhibits.

Haseeb Ahmed, a research-focused artist based in Brussels, has filled the street-facing front room of Spaces with a quirky and delightful installation exploring the impact of wind on life in Cleveland.

An anemometer mounted above a window outside the gallery measures outdoor wind velocity and feeds data inside the gallery to motors that drive a trio of aeoliphones — the instruments used by symphony orchestras to evoke the sound of wind.

As they whir away, a series of loudspeakers amplifies the voices of anonymous Clevelanders, who narrate harrowing experiences with wind and storms on or near Lake Erie. A video camera captures images of a rotating architectural model, affixed to the gallery ceiling, that was once used in wind tunnel tests.

Ahmed’s marvelous installation combines science and emotion in what amounts to a wonderful, offbeat celebration of Cleveland’s sense of place as a city on a Great Lake.

Another gallery centers on “Wild Relatives,’’ a powerful and stunningly beautiful, hourlong 2018 film by Berlin-based Jumana Manna, which focuses on the repatriation of seeds from an underground seed vault in remote Svalbard, in the Arctic Ocean, to post-civil war Syria.

The film’s low-key narrative style combines meditations on the fate of the Earth amid war and climate change with images of agrarian life in a Syrian village. It connects two wildly different landscapes that are linked through the preservation of seeds as a vital source of life.

Manna’s film is accompanied by a series of collages of idyllic landscapes made by the artist from snippets of plastic labels clipped from containers of cleaning products. The works exploit the contrast between cliché images of landscapes and floral bouquets with chemical products designed to evoke a phony, synthetic “freshness.”

The main gallery inside Spaces is devoted to scary-looking automata created by Dutch sculptor Isabelle Andriessen, which recall monsters in the Aliens movies of Ridley Scott. Andriessen’s metallic creations, trailing braided steel houses, ooze mysterious blue and orange fluids that crystallize on a metal pan or on the gallery floor.

The sculptures are accompanied by a collection of never-before-exhibited drawings and prints of dystopian, impossibly dense cityscapes by Andriessen’s father, artist, writer, and composer Jurriaan Andriessen (1925-1996).

Spaces’ participation in FRONT is rounded out by a long-term project involving the London-based collective, Cooking Sections. The collective aims to collaborate with local farms in Northeast Ohio to find ways to reduce algae-producing runoff in Lake Erie. A pair of oxygenating fountains on view at North Coast Harbor through October 2 is a visual manifestation of that effort., Steven Litt

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