[ISEA96] Artist Statement: James Duesing – Law of Averages

Artist Statement

Law of Averages takes place in a lush garden. The temptation in this garden, is an interactive theater called The Big Ghost. Vynola, an exotic Bird-like creature, is the bawdy tour guide in this endlessly exciting Cyber world (as long as the viewers have money to pay for it.) Destitute people, addicted to this entertainment, are frequently in the vicinity of the theater. Every one has a place that they live, some of them have a wall or two. They all have a couch and a TV because it helps them think. The Big Ghost is the only actual building in this garden. My work is informed by the politics of technology, sex and society. As I developed this project it became clear that the key to this work is in the portrayed environment. It is an environment full of contradictions. While it is a lush world, the plants and flowers are frequently personified spewing pollen, eating things or stretching their stamens out to rub against each other. The Big Ghost is a monolithic structure amid the trees. The name, The Big Ghost, was used by Chief Kanhonk of the Kaiapo Indians,in the Brazilian rain forest to describe television. The Kaiapo Indians have no written language, their history was handed down through story telling. Television became a substitute for that story telling so a generation grew up with no interest in their history. In Law of Averages, The Big Ghost is not just an evolved constantly exciting entertainment. It is an addictive substitute for all interpersonal relationships. There is an additional unseen layer of control that is also being exercised in this garden. Its presence is represented only as stone slabs with directives giving exacting and restrictive guidelines on how to live your life. These slabs enter as scene dividers and they are carved with statements like: Trust Your Government, Aspire to Wall to Wall Carpeting, Buy Life Insurance, Be Caller #7 and Win the Free Dinner. Through out the animation, the narrator speaks in first person of “I” and “you”. No further names are given as the relationship unfolds: I meet you at a party where you are dancing so wildly you are politely escorted out. When I come to your place you have two cats, the evil cat breaks a bottle and becomes difficult to put out for the night. I see you at a bar when you said you had to work and imagine the fight we could have. I want to call a friend and talk to them about you, but everyone in my phone book is dead. The main conflict arises between this relationship and the relationship the narrator believes he has with Vynola in the Big Ghost. The animation is ambiguously resolved in quite companionship while The Big Ghost looms in the back ground. With this work I wanted to present an allegorical look at complex issues of contemporary gay life. I did not want to present a happily arrived at conclusion. I wanted to show imperfect characters making decisions about daily events while enduring the complications of technology, overly simplified doctrines for living, their pets and each other. Video: Law of Averages

  • James Duesing, USA,¬†Associate Professor University of Cincinnati, School of Art, teaching Electronic Arts.¬†¬†duesing.wordpress.com