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TO MAY 28
Like the cop in Frequency who manages to contact his long-gone dad on a ham radio, Gina Denton wants to open channels of communication to the past. But she’s not trying to reach dead people; she wants to converse directly with the now-moldering devices that were once the latest thing in human discourse. For this show, that means electric typewriters, record players, TV sets, boomboxes, and radios. Of her three assemblages, the least eerie is Surrender (Piece for Diametric Communication), which stretches a long strip of chaotically overtyped paper between two baby-blue Smith Corona Coronets. For anyone who doesn’t remember a time before laser printers, these mechanisms may seem absurdly antiquated, but the fact is that they work: Ink on paper is still a technologically viable mode. Companions (pictured), which swathes TVs and radios in crocheted doilies, is more powerful. The TVs’ shifting snowscapes illustrate the divide between signal and noise: These machines are still saying something, but their Rosetta Stone has been shattered, leaving their messages indecipherable. The show’s knockout is Through the Wall, which features five old portable record players, all vainly trying to summon music from discs cut from drywall. The bumping and grinding is hypnotic, and harshly evocative: Is this the sound of a future in which all knowledge of the past is locked in gear that no longer works? The show is on view from noon to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, to Saturday, May 28, at the Gallery at Flashpoint, 916 G St. NW. Free. (202) 315-1310. (Mark Jenkins)