Friday, August 11, 2006

Karolina Sobecka's Projected Fantasies

We Make Money Not Art reports:

Artist Karolina Sobecka gave me a ride in her car yesterday, which she is driving around as part of her performative installation Wildlife. On the backseat of the car there is a powerful projector which is beaming a tiger on whatever happens to be parallel to the car. The animation of the cat is directly linked to the speed of the car, so when Karolina hits the throttle, the tiger starts running along as if on a leash, leaving behind baffled pedestrians. There are also sensors for cars that pull up in direct proximity which will also be represented by smaller animals.
I find the resonance of her previous driving-projection project, "Chase," to be even more interesting. (A still from her video of the project is shown above; visit Sobecka's website to view the video footage and her other projects.) Pointing out the displacement of the wild in the care and feeding of modern civilizations is true but not very interesting when done in a direct and symbolic way, because (as far as the symbolism goes) it's something we can all agree on - you, me, Walt Disney, and Diane Feinstein - and it has lost its power to be nonspecifically critical; the mourning for what has been lost is already owned by those who benefit from mourning as a form of expression because it is conclusive and thus beyond blame. This, to my mind, runs counter to what is inherently subversive in the form of expression Sobecka has chosen for the project.

In contrast, Sobecka proves with "Chase" that there is still something taboo about discussing media and violence in a very public way, even if cartoon violence has been thoroughly criticized and beautifully parodied, because she clearly outlines a vision of cartoon violence as a symptom, not a cause, of what ails us. There is something so secretive about Sobecka's "Chase" project - its silence, its drive towards a goal that will never be achieved - that a dark street becomes a silent witness, and the passing scene a benediction.

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