Monday, April 30, 2007

Going to the dentist today for cavity-filling and drill-induced pee spurts (oops!). Apparently, I have Meth-mouth and the post-mortem bicuspids of Martha Washington. Sigh. And I am now going to the Jack in the Box of dentistry, "Castle Dental," where every root canal comes with a listerine slushie and a toy. Said toys include: "Tootie the Rainbow Colored Tongue Scraper!" and "Hari, the mustachioed Gingivitis Terrorist."

Worst of all: they won't give me nitrous oxide. Why else would I go to the motherfucking dentist? Do I look like the type of gal who lies comatose without a gas mask? I love nitrous oxide.

Otherwise, nothing is happening except that my thesis is due. I am really scared that the "man" will find something wrong with the formatting (i.e. the left indention is one space too far towards the right which indicates allegiance with the Hezbollah, a traitorous writing spirit, and an unholy love for Eastern treats like Falafels and the like).

For lack of other interesting matter, here is my review of "Stalemate of the Boozefox," courtesy of ...might be good.











After penetrating the gigantic cardboard fa├žade of Stalemate of the Boozefox, I instantly began sorting through cinematic references like Dune, Mad Max and even that ole’ George Lucas behemoth, Star Wars. But a little less expectedly, I was reminded of a wondrous place called Busch Gardens and a beloved reality simulator (that I think has since been dismantled) called “Questor.” This, my most thrilling of childhood adventures, involved an inconspicuous machine that allowed me to burrow deep below the earth’s surface looking for gold with an amiable elfish co-captain by my side. But even in my single-digit years, I didn’t completely believe that the gyrations erupting throughout the vehicle were the result of seismic vibrations from the earth’s core. And yet, the illusion was so fantastic that I was forced to shove aside my precocious childhood cynicism and suspend my disbelief.

Stalemate operates in the same way, as both reality simulator and reality suspender. Drew Liverman, Scott Eastwood, Mike Phalan and Jules Buck Jones transform the nondescript Mass Gallery into a really fucking sweet space battle. It certainly doesn’t appear as a gallery any longer, and that alone is quite a feat. I don’t mean to imply that it appears as spaceship either. The wavy cardboard, cartoon-like rendering and homespun control panels don’t exactly purport to technological realism. But, in my opinion, that’s what makes this installation so compelling. Although the main “cabin” of the U.S.S. San Lucas is equipped with windows that look out at convincing stars, nebulae and constellations that give the impression of movement, we are not hurtling through space. Really, we are hurtling through someone else’s idea of space, one replete with crystalline structures and multi-eyed monsters.

This particular vehicle is locked in a never-ending battle with an oversized mechanical mutation known as the nefarious Boozefox. Between the two warring parties, there is a series of “Ka-pow” projections that imply absent exploits and foregone action. This intersection of moving image with stagnant figures results in a kind of temporal confusion that permeates the entire Stalemate installation. The artists apply a self-referential approach to the staging of their quirky space encounter, and a personal sense of anachronism becomes more important overall than sequential logic. Walking through the installation, I felt a heady excitement at the bad sci-fi rationale and my inability to decode it. For example, when I toggle this switch, it falls off. It doesn’t matter that the monster has a head. It doesn’t make sense and it doesn’t have to. Good (i.e. bad) sci-fi is full of unanswerable questions; I still don’t understand Tina Turner’s role in Mad Max. I don't have to, I just love it.

I can’t finish a review of Stalemate of the Boozefox without mentioning the idea of an eternal stalemate as it could be applied to our current cultural climate. While I know the artists involved did not specifically reference the war in Iraq, I found the idea of constant combat poignant at a time when war seems inevitable and also infinite. Stalemate masquerades as the faux document of a surreal battle, but its premise is not as absurd or as distant as it appears. Thankfully, this bleak idea is balanced by an installation that breathes with optimism, playfulness and the joy of making art collaboratively.

Ali Fitzgerald is an artist living in Austin, Texas.

5 comments:

dental damn it said...

Suddenly I feel like going to a Rave wearing my mickey mouse glove.

Ali Fitzgerald said...

Dear "Dental Damn it,"
is your Mickey Mouse glove neon? Does it glow in the dark? Does it attract oily pre-teens? Also, are you Michael Jackson?

dental damn it said...

AH! oily pre-teens waving their glow sticks in the air and so on. Well, if I was M.J I would make myself sing "Ben" all day everyday. Which goes out to all who may have lost a killer rat friend to a paranoid town. hang in there.

Alainicus said...

this is fantastic. can you hop on a plane tomorrow? we. need. you.

dental damn it said...

Hey Blanket, grab your shit. Texas needs us.