* (Halloween countdown post #6)
Jonah Freeman, Justin Lowe & Jennifer Herrema
Sun Yuan And Peng Yu
Alex Da Corte
Thackery Medical Museum
Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook The Class, Death Seminar (2005)
In “The Class, Death Seminar”, lifeless bodies obtained from a morgue are the students. The teacher is artist Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook who stands in front of a blackboard, at times lecturing on the topic of death, and at times engaging a conversation with these students. Together teacher and students re-examine attitudes towards death andpuzzle over the life-after-death conundrum.
Jonah Freeman, Justin Lowe & Jennifer Herrema Scenario in the Shade (2015)
It could be said that Freeman and Lowe kind of pioneered the current wave of creepy immersive installations with their very disturbing 2008 project “Hello Meth Lab in the Sun.” Their latest effort, “Scenario in the Shade” imagines a massive, slightly dystopian arts festival stretching between San Francisco and San Diego, and is infused throughout with paranoia and fear.
Sarah Sitkin Bodysuits (2018)
Through this collection -which accurately reproduces histories of anonymous lives, with their scars and the passage of time- the Los Angeles-based sculptress seeks to create the opportunity to inhabit other bodies to reflect on their real importance. A way of understanding the material that makes us an “habit” – the clothes that you can never take off, but you can learn to see beyond-.
Peter Caine Overseer (2005)
Even a decade later, Caine’s twisted snowscape populated by animatronic yetis with evil glowing eyes is still more than capable of haunting our sleepless nights. Wandering into the hellish scene was a totally surreal experience reminiscent of the classic Rankin/Bass Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Christmas special on acid.
Dora Budor Adaptation Of An Instrument (2016)
Steel, plywood, perforated aluminum, acrylic sheets, vinyl welding screen, vinyl- and urethane-coated laminate flooring, vinyl strip doors with mounting hardware, LEDs, motion-sensitive computer system, hardware, polyurethane foam inserts, hot-rolled steel panels with patina, protective wax, urethane resin, dye, amphibian props used in the film Magnolia (1999)
Anna Orlikowska Terminal Game (2007)
Anna Orlikowska brings mediaeval allegory into the 21st century, or rather a computer game. There is no death in virtual reality – players usually have several lives and even if they do die, they can always restart the game. Terminal Game bucks that trend, reminding us that transience can also be present in imaginary world. In her video, this multimedia artist uses a theme familiar from the series of 16th-century woodcuts by Hans Holbein. His Death character is an ambiguous figure who wears a variety of masks: he can be a jester or an intellectual; he can be dramatic, yet full of vigour; he pretends to be a friend, then turns into an enemy. Both representations are connected by the inevitability of our transience and our equality in the face of death.
Tracey Snelling Famous Horror Film Houses (2013)
Sculptor Tracey Snelling’s miniature horror world is, indeed, the antithesis of paradise. Featuring houses from The Birds (1963), Halloween (1978), The Amityville Horror (1979) and A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), the Oakland native calls the art installation “a homage to the horror film.”
Sarah Best Various (2012 – 2014)
Looking at Sarah Best‘s sculpture makes me think about the 1978 Hustler cover where a woman is being put through a meat grinder, next to a Larry Flynt quote stating “we will no longer hang women up like pieces of meat,” or the Cattle Baron poster showing the “choice cuts” on a naked woman. That is what Sarah Best is doing, juxtaposing dismembered female limbs and butcher’s hooks, some in white plaster, others painted like the gruesome, hacked off body parts they are.
Sun Yuan and Peng Yu Can’t Help Myself (2016)
‘In this work, Sun Yuan & Peng Yu employ an industrial robot, visual-recognition sensors, and software systems. Placed behind clear acrylic walls, their robot has one specific duty, to contain a viscous, deep-red liquid within a predetermined area. When the sensors detect that the fluid has strayed too far, the arm frenetically shovels it back into place, leaving smudges on the ground and splashes on the surrounding walls.
Alex Da Corte Die Hexe (2015)
This site-specific installation, titled Die Hexe, which literally means “the witch,” transformed Luxembourg and Dayan’s Upper East Side townhouse into a ghostly dollhouse, each room featuring wildly different decor, from gothic velvet-coverings to mod mirrored walls. One particularly unsettling section featured a morgue, replete with cadaver drawers.
Chloe Piene Blackmouth (2004)
Chloe Piene is a fine artist known for her skeletal and morbid imagery.
AES+F Last Riot (2005 – 2007)
The virtual world generated by the real world of the twentieth century is growing exponentially, like an organism in a Petri dish. Crossing its own borders in to new zones, it absorbs its founders and mutates in to something absolutely new. In this new world real wars look like a game on www.americasarmy.com. Prison torture appears more like the sadistic exercises of modern-day valkyries. Technologies and materials transform the artificial environment in to a fantasy landscape of a new epoch. This paradise is a mutated world where time is frozen and the past is neighbor to the future. Its inhabitants are devoid of gender, becoming more like angels. This is a world where the severe, the vague or the erotic imagination appears natural in the artificial unsteadiness of 3D perspective. The heroes of the new epoch have only one identity, that of participants in the last riot. Each fights both self and the other, there’s no longer any difference between victim and aggressor, male and female. This world celebrates the end of ideology, history and ethics.
Cameron Jamie Masks (2019)
Gabríela Fridriksdóttir Tetralogia North (2005)
Gabríela focuses, like the surrealists, on the spontaneous, but with the proviso that the spontaneity grows from the seed of the forefathers. She takes arms against rationalism, and bends the rules to her will. She seeks answers in what happens between waking and sleeping, the objective and subjective, or in the tension between the mind and the material world. She entangles the observer in her web of symbols, thus activating the web.
Gary Hill Tall Ships (1992)
Gary Hill created “Tall Ships” in 1992 in which he projected grayscale images of people on to the wall of a dark corridor. The feeling of the piece is one part “Twilight Zone” and one part “Strangers in a Dark Alley”. The people in the images move and appear to try to interact with the viewers. A girl runs forward towards the viewer, an old man glares at the viewer. The overall feeling is that the viewer is looking into the spirit world, and likewise the spirits are looking back.
Marianna Simnett The Needle & The Larynx (2018)
In The Needle & The Larynx, artist Marianna Simnett is in the hands of a surgeon who injects her larynx with Botox, a procedure usually undergone by young men wishing their voices to be lower. Shot in excruciating slow motion, the surgeon’s needle enters, probes, then withdraws from her throat. A hypnotic soundtrack whirls through a surgical description of the procedure, a pop song about Botox, and a confession of the artist, spoken in her newly deepened voice.
Francesco Albano Various (2017)
The Turkish sculptor Francesco Albano has dedicated his creative energy to really grotesque and marvelous realistic sculptures of human bodies melting, hanging, dripping down or being distorted in wicked and horrific ways. In his most recent solo exhibition, called “On The Eve,” the artist presented his new sculptures. They seem like creatures, not necessarily of human descent, had shed their skin and run away. The draped boneless skin bags, without faces or any other signs of identity, create a truly unsettling view.
Ben Goossens Lucid Liquid (2014)
video with 8-channel sound installation. Duration 25:00
Monica Cook Volley (2012)
The animation video is projected in the back room of the gallery separating itself from its stars. Its content is a connected series of narratives meandering at times softly and at time psychedelically through the gooey seduction, birth and death of the creatures. The soundtrack is proof of the emotive power of music in film, as it wraps these sappy, gushy and simultaneously disturbing and disguising images in unconditional love. It truly is “hard to watch and at the same time impossible to stop watching,” as the press release notes.
Thackery Medical Museum 1842 Street (?)
Travel back in time to the dirty streets of Victorian Leeds to explore life among the grime and the bedbugs. Walk through the streets of 1842 and be surrounded by the smells and sounds of Victorian life. Meet the characters who live there and discover what was making them ill. Enter the frightening world of surgery before the discovery of pain relief and anaesthetics and explore the tools of the Victorian surgeon.
Wang Qingsong Iron Man (2008)
In Iron Man (2009), Wang Qingsong created a hero in his own image affectionately referred to as Iron Man. This term Iron Man refers to an oil worker hero (Qingsong worked in the oil-fields for over eight years) who dedicated his life to developing Chinese oil industry in the early 1960s. In this video this strong-minded hero has been beaten up by a lot of fists but always straightens up his head facing sideways as if Taking Death As Merely Going Back Home. He avoids the fist by playing Chinese Tai Chi (a Chinese body-exercise system of slow meditative physical exercise designed for relaxation, balance and health). Finally, though losing hair and teeth in the course of the beating, he still smiles at his opponents.
Agnieszka Polska The Demon’s Brain (2018)
In The Demon’s Brain, a multichannel video installation created expressly for the exhibition at the Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin, Agnieszka Polska grapples with the ethical question of how individuals can assume social responsibility amid the overwhelming demands of the present moment. The point of departure for the work is a collection of fifteenth-century letters addressed to Mikołaj Serafin, the custodian of Poland’s salt mines. In her videos, Polska melds live action with animation to tell the fictional story of a young messenger tasked with delivering these letters on horseback. Along the way, the boy loses his horse and he gets lost in the forest. There he has an unexpected encounter with a demon, whose monologue fuses Christian theological ideas with today’s developments concerning resource consumption, environmental destruction, data capital, and artificial intelligence.
p.s. Hey. On Monday and Tuesday, I’ll be in Oslo showing ‘Permanent Green Light’. So you’ll get a restored post tomorrow and the escorts post on Tuesday sans p.s.es, and then I (aka my half of the p.s.) will be back on Wednesday to catch up all the comments you leave between now and then. ** Shane Christmass, Hi, Shane. I’ll see if I can see that late-period shit gem, thanks. ** David Ehrenstein, Rene was a hell of a poet, and not a bad writer on art when he cared. Thanks for all the behind the spotlight poop on Hopper. We’ll just have to vastly disagree about ‘The Image Book’. The event: Godard wasn’t there in person, of course. It was in a large live performing arts theater, Nanterre Amandiers, on the outskirts of Paris. They created this special space to watch ‘TIB’ with the precise sound design Godard wanted. In the main theater, they screened an array of Godard films from the last 15, 20 years. There was a labyrinthian walk-through installation that used the backstage areas, prop department, dressing rooms, and even the backstage bathrooms where short films or videos or sound-works or projections/photos by Godard or his cinematographer or his wife were displayed, some of them never before seen. And talks/discussions/etc. It was really great, and what was thrilling was it was packed at 2 pm on a Friday — the event runs for two weeks — and the crowd was quite young, in their teens, 20s, and 30s mostly — the kind of crowd you almost never see at serious/experimental film events — so that was very exciting and inspiring. ** Dominik, Hi, Dominik! My pleasure, and yes indeed! I’m good. Yes, our producer is reading the script now, and we’ll meet with him on Wednesday. So hopefully we’ll begin to know what the budget will be and how to proceed with the fundraising then. The Godard film was completely thrilling, the most exciting film for me in ages. Yes, the ‘not alone’ is the most important part probably. Like when I read Sade at 15, that was the biggest impact, like, ‘Wow, you can write serious literature about this stuff that haunts me and freaks me out?’ No, I haven’t been in contact with Poppy in decades. It would be interesting to be. Maybe I’ll track him down and send a ‘hi’ email. Yes, I’m off to Oslo to show ‘PGL’ on Monday. Very excited! Have a great and very outer weekend and beyond with Anita! I’m sure you will. See you very soon, and lots of love. ** Nick Toti, Hi there, Nick. Good to see you, bud! Ah, Let me … Everyone, Here’s mighty filmmaker Nick Toti with a yesterday-related treat. Take it away, Nick: ‘My humble contribution to Dennis Hopper day is that I helped record this video of Richard Linklater telling the story of Dennis Hopper blowing himself up at a rodeo in the 80s. That clip is excerpted from a longer introduction/post-screening discussion of Hopper’s “Out of the Blue,” which Linklater screened as part of a series he was guest-programming in Austin when I lived there. The full video can be seen here, if anyone’s interested.’ ** NLK, Hey! It has been a while. I’ve been wondering how you are. Great to see you! I laid out the basics of the Godard event to Mr. Ehrenstein up above. Ha ha, that does sound like the trigger point in a controversial (or maybe not) thriller. Oh, god, about the hubbub caused by that screening. But, yeah, you certainly hear of that happening frequently in these wussy days. Sorry you had to face that. Yes, I’ve seen ‘The Wayward Cloud’, and like it very much, of course, and am bewildered or maybe just sad that it would raise such a boring form of hell. Great, I’ll go read what you wrote about the film when I’m finished here. Happy Halloween build-up to you! Thanks for spending the season with the Cycle. I like that fit, obviously, and how strange and peaky to imagine making Harry Styles vomit into a pool. Take care. I look forward to hopefully seeing you again soon. ** Keatonablos, Snackables. The French like to think of themselves as decadent too, but, psst, not so much. The Loire is terrific. If I was a different and more boring kind of person, I would retire there. Autograph, yes. I used to have an autograph book I carried everywhere when I was a kid because you used to run into celebrities on the street and stuff in LA back then before paparazzi and before stalkers had a name. I hope that book still exists somewhere. I got a lot. Um, who can I remember … Mickey Dolenz, Lucille Ball, the actor who played the second fiddle character on ‘Wild Wild West’, all three of The Three Stooges, the actress who played Granny on ‘The Beverly Hillbillies’, and etc. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. Ooh, I’ll check that out. Everyone, Here’s _Black_Acrylic with a gift: ‘The other week I was pleased to see that the Scottish comedian Limmy has had a series of his “Homemade Show” commissioned by the BBC. There’s only one episode of this been made last year, and you may remember me raving about it as the greatest, most avant-garde piece of comedy I’ve seen in a long time. That first one is now on Youtube and is very highly recommended obvs.’ ** Steve Erickson, I lucked into seeing an advance screening of ‘Out the Blue’ back in the day with Hopper and Linda Manz there. Pretty cool. I should do a Linda Manz Day even though I guess it would be pretty small. Ha ha, sadly I do think that reference would be highly selective, but what in the world is wrong with that, right? ** KK, Hi, Kyle. Oh … you know, I have a lot of stories, but they would take a lot of backgrounding and explaining, so, for now, I’ll just say that I knew him and hung around with him sometimes in the early 80s, and he was a completely amoral, sadistic, mean, backstabbing, manipulative mindfucker who could be very charming, witty, and so on but who you couldn’t trust for a millisecond. 40 degrees in Austin, wow. Can’t imagine that lasting, but hey, nice going. No, never heard of ‘The Mountain’ before. I see it has Jeff Goldblum in it, and I’m of the opinion that anything with him in it is worth testing at the very least. Let me know the scoop. I like the Uniform/The Body album too. I just listened to it not four days ago, coincidentally. Great track, that one, yeah. ** Bill, Hi, Bill. It’s so, so, so rare that theater involving puppets is not insufferable, I think, and, via Gisele’s accompaniment, I’ve seen my fair share. You should definitely dust that idea off. Good weekend, I hope? ** Right. Here’s a Halloween themed art show for you. Lots of goodies in there. Don’t neglect it, please. The blog will see you on Monday, and I personally will see you on Wednesday. Have fun until then.