Thursday, June 28, 2012

Forget The Love-Triangle! This One's A Square...

B.O.V.A., 2012  Burns and Martin

Torsten Zenas Burns and Darrin Martin’s “What If…? In The Days When The Tiger Smoked” is a twisting, elaborate, convoluted love-story of a cast of characters caught in an ever-morphing reality.  What would your reaction be when confronted with a costumed comic-book character horse head blowing balloons while singing in a Korean(ish) karaoke bar?  Or how about a half-dressed duo gently waving arms taped with cybernetic extensions, plastic figurines, and other go-go gagetry?  This collaborative work provokes reactions ranging from quizzical brows, stupefied stares, or (best of all) slightly bemused chuckles.  Yet underneath the playfulness, this work draws on a myriad of pop-culture references and heroes to expose and challenge the boundaries between machine, flesh, culture, gender, animal, human, love, object, avatar, and sexuality.  The title draws from two sources: a Marvel comic book series extrapolating alternate realities in the possibilities of “What if…?” and a Korean saying for “Once upon a time…”  In this gallery’s parallel universe, space takes on a mystical quality, as if it really is a land far, far away.   

Carnalove Workshop, 2010  Burns and Martin

I thought it would be fun to introduce this zany cast as the ambassadors for all of the who have ever loved or ever pined for anyone (or anything).

Plastinoids, 2010 Burns and Martin

Meet the Characters:

The Vision
A Marvel Comic creation, this “synthezoid” is an android that houses a soul.  Created by the villainous Ultron to fight against the Avengers, he is quickly persuaded to join the team to fight against his vindictive creator.  He continually battles for control of his mind and throughout his evolution, loses and gains different versions of synthetic skin.  He marries the Scarlet Witch (as Ultron intended) and ends up fathering twins.   The Vision is a paragon for the soulless robot, friendless Frankenstein, or the Tin Man who only wants a heart.

The Scarlet Witch
An X-Men character, the Scarlet Witch possesses both mutant and magical powers.  Hidden from her father, Magneto, her foster mother, Lady Bova, a highly evolved animal who lives on Mount Wundagore, places her in the care of human foster parents, but not before she was endowed with the mountain god’s power, giving her the ability to manipulate chaos, probability and reality itself.  The Scarlet Witch stands for all those who ever took a chance­– on love, on plastic pool toys, on the cyborg-next-door! 

Connecticut River Date, 2010  Burns and Martin

A real world artist, ORLAN is known for her unique visual medium–her own body, treating her skin as a canvas.  Although her work spans across sculpture, installations, video, and bio-art, ORLAN remarkably underwent a series of plastic surgeries to challenge the tropes of female representation across visual fields, reimagining portraiture through the possibilities of technology.  All the avatars in the world (blue or otherwise), this one’s for you!

Artist Stelarc goes to incredible lengths to render his body obsolete­–from transplanting a digitally capable ear into his arm to hanging from suspension wires embedded into his flesh.  He has also engineered a human-like, pneumatically powered walking machine as a six-legged bodily extension, attempting to expand the body’s function by incorporating cybernetic exoskeleton.   In love with your liver who doesn’t seem to want to stay put?  Are your rebellious ears running away from your head?  Or feet walking without a leg?  Attachment is such a drag.  Stelarc is your man.
Q.U.A.D. (Augmenting-Capturing Cluster), 2012 Burns and Martin
Posted by: Jenai Talkington, Gallery Intern