The lesser-spotted medium has made a few fleeting appearances at FIAC, but what it lacks in proliferation, it makes up in pizazz. Cyber-pop, explicit dreamscapes and infinite algorithms form two of FIAC’s most exciting works on film.
The first piece to catch Elephant’s eye comes courtesy of London’s Pilar Corrias, in the form of New York-based artist Ian Cheng. Born in 1984, the artist isn’t just interested in the medium of video within the art world, he is an expert in technology and has created a piece that exceeds the understanding of most. We may have big elephantine memories, but we can’t get our heads around mod cons like this.
Emissary Forks sits at the back of an almost bare booth (but for a Phillipe Parreno neon that perfectly offsets the work), showing from a large, floor mounted screen that sits slightly diagonally to the back wall. On the screen, a figure stumbles across a bare landscape, spine bent so far backwards that it looks as though it has been snapped in half. Barely recognisable as a human, this figure is skeletal with the last threads of clothing hanging from its withering body. This human, we are told, is a pop star re-awoken into a post-apocalyptic landscape. A pack of hyped-up, bright orange foxy looking dogs run through the landscape around the figure.
As interesting as this as a visual experience alone, the video is also created using some pretty unexpected means. Having no end and existing in a constant state of development, this video is in fact the result of an algorithm, ever evolving based upon some predetermined designs. But the direction that it takes, the exact angles and the content on screen changes as time passes. Even the artist has given up some control in how this work plays out.
Elsewhere, Tianzhuo Chen resides in (the controversially named) Long March Space’s booth, a gallery that has roots in Beijing. Chen’s videos offer an insight into the world right before the pop apocalypse, with an extreme lust for all that is pink, rude and garish. 19:53 is an explosion of street slang, schoolgirls, sculptural digital forms and hard beat. Bald pink baby mammals — possibly rats? — squirm in a cupped pair of hands. Cultures are appropriated, though the merging is so intense that it becomes difficult to decipher where they have been taken from. Dancers writhe in front of a dreamy set of powder pinks and sparsely set cactuses. Dirty, raucous and impossible not to love.