28 May 2011

Douglas Story/Desdemona Enfield and Eliza Wierwight at Split Screen through 30 June

Opening Saturday, 28 May, are two new installations at Split Screen: D.Construct by the team of Douglas Story & Desdemona Enfield, and FlowerDrum by Eliza Wierwight.

Doug and Desdemona are noted for their intensely scripted creations, and D.Construct is no exception. It's highly interactive ... and it's fun, too! One selects from a set of pictures of well-known paintings and other images, and in a kind of reversal of pointillism, clicking the picture turns it into colored dots which tumble down to the floor. Click the picture a couple times again, and the picture turns into dots of a different size. In the next set of clicks, the entire picture turns into an Apollonian gasket, a fractal made of circles. Then it all comes apart and you can start over with another picture. Along with all this, there's music by March Macbain (Emily Wilkins) and the dots makes sounds. Walk around in them too. (D.Construct involves the most extensive scripting yet undertaken at Split Screen; I've wondered how far Split Screen could go since it's on a homestead sim, which is less robust than a full sim. Evidently, if the scripting is good, pretty far.)


In contrast to D.Construct's abstract playfulness, Eliza's FlowerDrum is darkly impassioned -- elegant yet visceral. It is inflected with with Japanese and other Asian imagery throughout: clothing, Hokusai's famous Great Wave Off Kanagawa, a video of a butoh performance, various photos, bonsai trees, and more (even including the jarring Tokyo lights of a neon geisha). But this isn't simple Orientalism. On the contrary, these images are more like collected mementos bespeaking a deeper, more direct and poignant connection, gathered and painstakingly positioned within an intimate home-like environment. FlowerDrum is not G-rated: it is intended for emotionally mature viewers, and visitors with adolescent responses will gape but not see. The flower drums pound the erotic pulse of the work. The images are not kama sutra but Liebestod. Indeed, a memento mori figures prominently.

Turn on your media stream! It's an important part of both builds. FlowerDrum is best viewed through Phoenix, since the installation's Windlight setting will kick in automatically; people using other viewers should switch to the "[EUPHORIA] low saturation dull deposit" setting themselves.

D.Construct and FlowerDrum are at Split Screen now through 30 Jun.

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