Studio Proof: "My Rock Stars Experimental, Volume 1" stimulates the senses

Jesse Tigges, Columbus Alive

Moroccan-born creator Hassan Hajjaj epitomizes the notion of "no half measures." Those needing proof of his mindset only need to experience Hajjaj's video installation currently on view at the Wexner Center for the Arts. "My Rock Stars Experimental, Volume 1" synthesizes photography, music and fashion for nine separate performances that seamlessly blend together, while highlighting each one's cultural heritage.

Each video features musicians donning ensembles designed by Hajjaj and performing in front of colorful, heavily patterned textiles. While one is performing the other eight turn in the direction of that musician as if they're right there watching the routine.

Viewers will initially be inundated by the colorful and imaginative clothing each subject is wearing - a mixture of traditional Moroccan fabrics and luxury brand clothing and shoes - as they step out of the decorative backdrop. But take a seat on the milk-crate couch in the gallery and stay for a while, as the visuals are only outdone by the characters on the screens.

Hajjaj chose his "personal rock stars" - from American violinist Marques Toliver to Luzmira Zerpa, a Venezuelan-born singer and songwriter - for the nine subjects, and each gives a wonderful performance that highlights the similarities and individuality of cultures around the world. (Make sure to catch Toliver's rousing "Charter Magic," but it's also a lot of fun to see how each musician taps his or her feet, claps and moves to the others' performances - it's like the coolest house party you've never been to.)

As the focus bounces from one musician to the other, in a non-sequential order, the visuals frame this minimal, intimate moment of musical diversity. It's an installation that's representative of cultural elements both modern and traditional, all while highlighting Hajjaj's eye for flare that best captures the informal showmanship of the musicians.

"My Rock Stars Experimental, Volume 1" is a three-channel installation, running about 30 minutes. Hajjaj will visit the Wexner Center for a free artist discussion 4:30-6 p.m. Wednesday, April 8 and the installation closes April 12.