The first U.S. museum exhibition by Helsinki-born documentary filmmaker and video artist Mika Taanila is a dire reflection of contemporary culture's adoration of extremes. Old and new media collide: Black-and-white photograms hang alongside a massive multipart video projection. Footage of the analog human feat of a six-day run (in which competitors run around a one-mile track until they collapse) is aligned with The Most Electrified Town in Finland, a three-channel video installation depicting the construction of a massive nuclear power plant. A haunting musical score by Pan Sonic emanates from the central gallery where this large piece is installed, its eerie sounds casting a foreboding tonal pall over the entire museum. The Future is Not What It Used to Be pays homage to Finnish digital musician and artist Erkki Kurenniemi, capturing the pioneering '60s experimenter in reassembled fragments that expose the elegance and folly of his unflagging faith in technology. The medium is once again proven to be the message — a truth told anew in Taanila's all-too-earthly filmic dystopia. Through August 11 at CAM (Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis), 3750 Washington Boulevard; 314-535-4660 or www.camstl.org. Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Sat. (open till 8 on Thu.), 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sun.
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