PRESS – LA Review 10/09


Oct. 2009
by Jacki Apple


A new generation is redefining performance for the twenty-first century in what artist collaboratives are calling “real time cinema,” a synthesis of live action and new imaging technologies. This generation embraces such diverse sensibilities as the kinesthetic frenzy of Big Art Group and the eerie mise-en-scène montages of Sue-C and Laetitia Sonami’s “animations.”

In contrast to SOS’s externalized virtual world, Sue-C and Laetitia Sonami’s Sheepwoman explores the interstices between inner and outer realities. Based on Haruki Murakami’s novels Dance Dance Dance and The Wild Sheep Chase, this piece captures both the illusory nature of perception and the pursuit of what lies beneath the surface where the unseen resides. The medium and the message coalesce, for there is in fact no actual film, only an elusory flow of images manipulated in real time through an overhead projector, or captured by tiny “live” surveillance cameras in miniature model sets. Shadowy black-and-white images of interiors, objects, Japanese street scenes, train stations, airports, and a country road are seen through the narrator’s eyes. They are fleshed out by a soundtrack composed of old on-site recordings in Japanese, sound effects, and Murakami’s words in the narrator’s and Sheepwoman’s voice mixed with music clips from old American and Italian films. It is a film-noir vocabulary of suspense — a dark corridor, lights under a door, a phone ringing, footsteps on gravel (or is it snow?), a squawking bird — a montage of puzzle pieces in which time and memory are malleable. “This is your world . . . .your place . . . you are really a part of here . . . tied to everything . . . here’s where it all ties together . . .,” the Sheepwoman tells us.

In both SOS and Sheepwoman we are left to ponder: where exactly is “here” and what is “real” — urgent questions for our time.

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