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08 Mar 02:53

Sci-Fi Classic 'The Fly' Mutates into a Fine Art Exhibition

by Shana Nys Dambrot

The thing about science fiction is that while it generally takes place in "the future" and/or "in space," at its core it is always really about its own present, right here on earth. Issues of politics, race, sex, wealth, technology, environmental resources, disease, mortality, justice, fear and power play out in classically constructed metaphors dropped into fantastical settings in which we are invited to imagine ourselves -- almost. For painter, sculptor, installation and video artist Peter Wu, science fiction is the perfect idiom for examining the "strange new world" we are living in. "What are the anxieties of our era?" asks Wu. "The sci-fi classics The Fly (by Kurt Neumann, 1958 and David Cronenberg in 1986) each successfully captures the anxieties of their respective eras," --  fear of nuclear apocalypse in the Cold War-era and the first wave of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. "Each film introduces a type of mutation which is brought forth by technology," Wu continues. "I see Cronenberg's version as a mutation of Neumann's film and my exhibition as a mutation of these films combined. With my adaptation, I hope to express our current state of anxiety." As the viewer, you are encouraged to define today's fears in whatever way you see fit. You've got plenty to choose from.

Peter Wu: Rise of the Fly II at Vincent Price Art Museum. Photo: Jesse Fiorino

Gallery-goers are signaled that there's more going on than painting in the show long before they enter. The whispering cacophony of its ambient soundtrack is audible at some distance. They follow it to find a darkened space, illuminated only by the cool pooling of neon-light wall-writing and the flickering of projected videos. Wu brings all his practices in different mediums and technological platforms to bear on a series of singular, intermedial works and vignettes containing various configurations of painting, video projection and sculpture. All the works share a lexicon of imagery culled from the two films, but spliced, isolated, deconstructed, and reassembled into metagraphs that look like abstract expressionism but contain graphic visceral pictures, posit swarms of glowing insects, layering modified segments of the movies into new fever-dream moments of ominous juxtaposition. The multichannel video projection is an imminently watchable loop that comes to life across a series of floor-mounted screens and wall-mounted painted grounds. Aside from the content, it looks like how we might be watching movies in the future -- multifaceted, simultaneous, immersive and nonlinear; physical and virtual at the same time.

Peter Wu: Rise of the Fly II at Vincent Price Art Museum. Photo: Jesse Fiorino

Peter Wu: Rise of the Fly II at Vincent Price Art Museum. Photo: Shana Nys Dambrot

Peter Wu: Rise of the Fly II (painting detail) at Vincent Price Art Museum. Photo: Shana Nys Dambrot

"This is what the viewer encounters within my exhibition," says Wu, "to see the familiar through strange eyes. What has become of the image itself? With its proliferation on screens, continually mutating with each share in an endless string of memes, our relationship to truth, its source, and "the original" has forever been disconnected." While this existential, informational crisis plays out in this pair of movies as a metaphor derived from cellular/DNA science and the promise of nanotechnology and teleportation -- but it is also a poignant meditation on the obsession with medical science, genetic engineering, cancer, control, and Franken-everything in our teched-up society. At the same time in its physical form Wu's work itself embodies the fractured state of modern consciousness, and the blessings, curses, and opportunities for new kinds of perception to which our brains are busy adapting -- for the future.

Peter Wu: Rise of the Fly II at Vincent Price Art Museum. Photo: Shana Nys Dambrot

Peter Wu: Rise of the Fly II at Vincent Price Art Museum. Photo: Jesse Fiorino

Peter Wu: Rise of the Fly II at Vincent Price Art Museum. Photo: Jesse Fiorino

Peter Wu: Rise of the Fly II (projection detail) at Vincent Price Art Museum. Photo: Shana Nys Dambrot

Peter Wu: Rise of the Fly II at Vincent Price Art Museum. Photo: Jesse Fiorino

Rise of the Fly II is on view through Saturday, March 18 at the Vincent Price Art Museum at East LA College in Los Angeles. See more of Peter Wu's work on his Instagram.

Related:

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CGI Artworks Transform the Real World into Science Fiction

07 May 04:55

Student Stitching

by Cara Ober
Madeline Wheeler Reviews Timelapse, Maryland Institute College of Art’s 22nd Annual Benefit Fashion Show When attending a fashion show, the decisions regarding your own wardrobe choices can be crippling. I was so plagued by this dilemma that I arrived to MICA’s fashion show fifteen minutes late. Slipping into an empty seat in the back of […]
20 Apr 19:39

Let This Supercut of Tarantino's Car Shots Drive You Wild

by Beckett Mufson (beckett.mufson@vice.com)

Screencaps via

No adrenaline-pumping Tarantino film is complete without at least a few shots of the camera making cinematic love to a (preferably classic) automobile. Jakob T. Swinney, the editor who showed us the poetry of films' first and final frames and the meaning of fading to white, just released the third installment of a four-part series on Quentin Tarantino, Tarantno: The Driving Shots. In it, he explores the life-and-death drama, casual conversations, and awkward silences the iconic filmmaker uses to move narratives forward—ideally at 60+ mph, on four wheels, and down a long and lonely highway.

"Tarantino is a rather popular topic for supercuts and video essays, so a ton of patterns were already put to good use—pop culture references, trunk shots, low angle shots, deaths, etc," Swinney explains to The Creators Project. "Re-watching QT's films, I realized that many of my favorite scenes take place in a car. Not only does Tarantino conduct crucial narrative movement inside of vehicles (Mr. Orange being shot, Jules 'retiring,' Butch running over Marsellus, etc.), but he shoots them using a large variety of interesting angles that resurface in each film."

He encourages viewers to make sure they watch the supercut all the way through: "My favorite part of the process was coming up with a way to end the video," he says. "I had a lot of fun playing with some different ways, and I'm really happy with the ending I chose." With the teaser for Tarantino's upcoming antebellum bloodfest, The Hateful Eight, now out on the web, we've got visions of galloping horses and exploding carriages—à la Django Unchained—dancing in our heads.

See more of Jakob T. Swinney's work on his Vimeo page and in our coverage below.

Related:

What Does It Mean When a Film Fades to White?

Supercut Pairs First and Final Frames of 55 Films

5 Oscar-Nominated Directors, One Supercut

14 Apr 18:09

Cops have killed way more Americans in America than terrorists have

by Xeni Jardin
vox

Police have killed more Americans on U.S. soil since the year 2000 than the Islamist terrorists. Read the rest

05 Apr 03:16

1930 stop-motion movie of a metal-eating bird

by Mark Frauenfelder

[Video Link] "Excerpt from a bizarre early stop-motion animation piece featuring Charley Bowers and a metal-eating bird. The creature devours junk from an auto scrapyard, then lays an egg that hatches and grows into a brand new car! Very impressive FX and way before CGI. Directed by Harold L. Muller." (Via Magic Transistor)