Sept. 20 2016 03:10 PM

Lopex pays tribute to vintage video dating services with help from SDAI and the public

Omar Lopex (on the couch) and Noè Olivas (the truck)
Image courtesy of the artists

Omar Lopex isn't a nostalgic person. Sure, the self-described "analogue person" has worked in everything from tintype metal plate photography to Super 8 film, yet he insists his new video project isn't a tribute to a bygone era.

"Whenever I read people's artistic statements these days, it always starts with something like, 'In an age of digital...'" says Lopex, laughing while he imitates a movie trailer voiceover. "I guess when everything's digital, you have to make it into some kind of gripe. Like the guy at the party who's talking about feminism so he can get laid."

With help from Noë Olivas, Lopex is working on a new video project that explores the world of video dating that was popular in the '80s and '90s. Lopex became interested in the antiquated medium after seeing a YouTube compilation of some of the more, well, unintentionally humorous dating profiles. While most people might see the profiles and cringe at the awkwardness, Lopex sees something different entirely.

"I just think there's something vulnerable about it," he says. "We're looking at it 30 years later thinking, 'Oh, what a bunch of losers. He looks like such a creep,' but that aside, that's a human who longs for love or just lusts for a body."

With that in mind, Lopex is staging a video dating recording event to coincide with his artist residency at the San Diego Art Institute's Project Space inside Horton Plaza. Using Olivas' vintage Chevy "Untitled Space" bread truck, which he has converted into a mobile art space, Lopex plans on recording Balboa Park visitors (the truck will be parked at the parking lot behind the Spreckels Organ Pavilion) on Thursday, Sept. 22, from noon to 9 p.m.

"We've been wanting to collaborate for a while," says Olivas. "For me, it's always interesting to see how artists use the truck space."

Along with a chair and a video camera, the setup inside the truck will be fairly straightforward, with Lopex and Olivas draping pink fabric throughout. The resulting video will be playing outside the truck while Lopex interviews the subject inside with a set list of questions. Lopex plans on compiling the results for a long-running video piece that he'll screen at the Horton Plaza show space on Sunday, Oct. 2, from 4 to 8 p.m. He's also quick to point out that participants don't need to be single in order to participate.

"I just hope that there's no incidents like the Pina Colada song," says Lopex, referring to Rupert Holmes' hit song from the '70s. "I want couples to go, but I hope none of them see each other after and say, 'You said what? You feel what?'"


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