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Big Omaha – This Strange Phase provides ‘zentastic’ escape

Big Omaha attendee Trent Allen sits near This Strange Phase, an art installation featuring video fragments and pieces of poems projected onto hand-painted wooden panels. Photo by Malone & Company.

Since its inception in 2009, Big Omaha has been held at KANEKO, an “open space for open minds that nurtures and promotes creativity in the arts, sciences, and philosophy.” In addition to the permanent and exhibiting art collections housed at KANEKO, Big Omaha invites a select group of artists to add a unique element to its conference with installations or exhibitions geared towards attendees.

At this year’s event, PeerlessCaleb Coppock, Daphne Eck and Bethany Kalk collaborated on one such installation. Coppock is a painter, sculptor, animator and designer. Eck is a writer, creative thinker and project wrangler. Kalk is a painter, musician and photographer. 

Their wall installation, This Strange Phase, was set up in the room that also housed the simulcast lounge, a snack and beverage bar and a set of comfortable chairs and couches. In response to the moon’s constant presence and cyclical influence on our world, This Strange Phase was an installation of projected animations, sound and gridded paintings that hosted mournful vocals, poetic fragments and animated activities affected by lunar patterns.

The inspiration behind the installation

“I had been involved with Big Omaha – I used to work here at KANEKO, so I was involved and I just always loved that Big Omaha tried to include art in this,” Coppock said. The team collaborated on the installation specifically for the event and to coincide with the moon in Big Omaha’s logo. “We responded to this moon imagery that was happening,” Coppock said.

Two of the three This Strange Phase artists, Caleb Coppock and his wife, Daphne Eck, speak with Big Omaha attendee Tim Guthrie. Photo by Malone & Company.

About This Strange Phase

It took the team three weeks to complete the installation. They captured fragments of video and pieces of poetry to create the bigger piece. Eck said that they like blending together hand-touched pieces with technical elements like video. “These are all wood panels, and we hand-painted them and put them on a kind of lazy susan, spun it and painted them,” Eck said.

Added Coppock: “We felt like that was appropriate for this, you know, to truly create this piece that had a collage of videos that we’re shooting and somehow the videos are abstract but trying to unify them together with this grid.”

The response

Conference attendees told the team that the wall was very “Zentastic” and meditative. “That’s what we were going for – something that would draw you in and you could spend some time with and kind of, like, slow you down,” Eck said.

If you want to see more from Peerless, they’ve secured a space at Midtown Crossing for six months. The first show will most likely be in June. Check wearepeerless.com for future updates.

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