Arts and Entertainment
Musings on the 2014 Paris Exhibition: 32 December 2014
Author: John Zybourne Rambling Reporter
Just walked back from Paris. Three days ago. And as always everything still hurts. Way crash fucking blows. Going through that weird throbbing instant between glowing orange-green planes is a sheer wonder the first time you do it, but now, I’d almost rather fly coach and deal with the stale peanuts and surly stewardesses. Unlike a Boeing there is no ginger ale to nurse a hangover through the Ways. But dear readers I’ve told you enough of the riveting tales of my body not being what it used to be; I have an anointed task before me, to tell you goons all about my impressions of the 2014 Sommes-Nous Devenus Magnifiques?.
It’s a shit show. Ok, not a complete and utter shit show, but it’s pretty sad. This was the 14th exhibition, and let me tell you we’ve come a long way down from Duchamp and Ruiz, now it’s just conglomerates and self-styled culture jammers oh so ironically plugging their “brand”. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
There were, in fact, some absolutely stunning pieces on display this year. I mean stunning, mouth agape, hail mary stunning.
I’m sure you’ve already heard about the debut of Jackie Collins, a Backdoor SOHO native. Her Tree of Life and Tears is as glorious as everyone says. A full sized Muirwood tree, 25 meters high, sprouting, along with it’s golden-green leaves, almost a thousand clear teardrop shaped bulbs containing a self-sustaining micro ecosystem, each of which evolved there (You bet your ass I saw some Shukutei Biomed suits poking around for new talent). Sentient worms, metallic octopi, black globules singing ABBA songs, it was all there, a universe in a tree. I don’t know how to fully capture it in words, but it’s as close as one can get to The World Tree without going to Asgard. Simply stunning. Lass knows how to put on a good show, and I think I speak for everyone when I say I’m honestly excited to see what she does next.
Maly Glenne’s Self Portrait of a Wind UP Girl was enthralling in a nightmare-wet-dream-inducing way. The eponymous Wind UP Girl is composed out of old video game consoles (everything from Atari 2600 to XBONE and the Watari GameForge) and brass clockwork with a face sculpted out of some kind of oily grey flesh. Smooth grey skin, bald, camera iris eyes and full black lips with the slightest hint of a pout. Beautiful, in that uncanny valley sort of way; she offered to suck my cock if I would let her borrow my phone to take a selfie. That’s the point, according to Maly, Wind UP Girl is “like a junkie addicted to her own self portrait, her own image, selfies in particular. At first I intended it to be a commentary on the proud narcissism of my generation, The desperation for an egotistical experience, but then she took the sexual turn all on her own. Not content to beg. A sexual release for an egotistical release, I’m pleased with it.”
And yes, dear readers I did decline the offer. But only after a moment of consideration.
By far, however, the piece I found the most memorable was by Lorie Hayeson; The Dreams of Mr. Schrodinger’s Cat. It’s simple enough, a 3x3x3 meter lead-lined pit, filled with water. At the bottom, sleeping softly, is a cubist impression of a cat that almost appears to be carved or casted out of a green-grey metallic stone. Leads attached to the cat-thing run out of the tank to a cheap VR headset. The headset displays things that can barely be comprehended, images that are sounds, photo-realistic memories, colors that don’t exist, pasts that will never happen and futures that have. The cat gives off an electric blue glow, Cherenkov radiation. Lorie explains: “I was doing some research into the history of atomic energy, and I came across a theoretical paper from the early 60’s by a team at Alexylva that detailed how ‘atomic life’ might work, how an organism that did not rely on electro-chemical processes for life function, but rather on atomic and sub atomic processes. I wondered what the dreams of such a creature would be like, and if I could relate to them at all. I decided on a cat, because even the chemical ones are so expressive when they dream; an atomic cat could only be more intense and besides, it just fits.”
Dreams was completely captivating, just the concept kept me up thinking about the possibilities of nuclear powered gods.
But now that you’ve heard about the glories of the 2014 Sommes-Nous Devenus Magnifiques? dear readers, let’s get on with my bitchfest. They say Paris is still, almost a century and a half after La Belle Époque the capital of the art world, and while I know for fact that there are still some very cool anartists doing their thing in Paris, this festival owes its location mainly to tradition rather than anything else. I’ll be blunt, it’s almost as bad as SXSW or Burning Man at this point, just a bunch of suits and millennials pushing product under the guise of artistic expression. Dream tech investors and mithril speculators trying to be edgy and connect “wit da yout”. Hell, the first thing that happened when I stepped in the main hall was encountering some twenty-something rep wearing a fucking Doctor Wondertainment t-shirt that said Organizer on the back. She handed me a brochure laying out the major installations and sub-galleries; a fucking brochure! What ever happened to just wandering around and seeing things, exploring the exhibition, and never mind the fact that the brochure was crusted over with the logos of “our sponsors”.
I know I saw MC&D dealers there; long gone are the days when the patrons would link arms and deny entrance to that group of shitstains.
It’s gone to the plebs as they say, but at least there are other festivals and exhibitions cropping up. Montreal feels more ethereal, those of you that were at Amindaj Songoj will know what I mean. It isn't too saccharine yet.
But what the hell do I know, I’m just a bitter young man over here complaining. I’m going to go talk to my editor, maybe go coronal phase surfing with the Embers of Muuat.
Cheers, and have a good 2015.