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Promoting a More Just, Verdant and Harmonious Resolution (Mechelen) – 2011
Interactive four channel video and sound installation. Duration: Infinite. Installation Views, Postcommodity: SouthwestNET., Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Scottsdale, Arizona.
Promoting a More Just, Verdant and Harmonious Resolution has the initial appearance of an immersive four channel video installation. On each wall of the gallery space are floor-to-celiling video projections seemingly captured from the Western imagination, dreamed and remembered. They are moving pastoral images of an idealized, though strangely intangible world inspired by the video displayed during the mass assisted suicide depicted in the 1973 science fiction film Soylent Green. While engaging the seemingly meditative video installation and walking about the gallery space, audience members will inevitably step on one of eight detonation triggers embedded in the floor, setting off a concussive sonic explosion shaped by a generative physics model of real-world IED explosions — particularly IEDs that utilize found consumer objects and electronics. The audience-triggered explosions are comprised of fragments of sampled music ranging the iconic pop of Burt Bacharach, Beach Boys and Beatles to the heavy metal of Slayer, Metalica and Black Sabbath and punk rock of the Ramones, Bad Brains and Stiff Little Fingers. In all, hundreds of samples are randomly utilized as sonic shrapnel. The result is an exaggerated moment in which audiences are enveloped by the physical properties of an Afghanistan hot spot and simultaneously assaulted by the sonic artifacts of Western colonialism in which members of the audience share the sudden and disorientating experience of having their collective musical memories envelop them and flash before their eyes. The sound is powered by a network of bass subwoofers and transducers mounted below the gallery floor that provide the audience with a jarring physical and sonic experience that is further enhanced by a fully directionalized 3D sound system of flat response monitors mounted to the gallery walls. As the sonic explosion is triggered by audiences, the projected videos are momentarily reduced to feedback. Postcommodity uses improvised explosive devices (IEDs) as a metaphor for exploring the relationships and tensions between political sovereignty, global stability and cultural and ethnic-specific self-determination movements; the DIY ethos of punk, metal and other forms of popular music, and the DIY ethos of insurgent tactics; the role of popular music as an agent of democratization, and the role of IEDs as means of achieving political legitimacy; and, the historic role of popular music within the legacy of military psychological operations (PSYOP).