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For every millenarian fantasy of apocalyptic endings, there exists at least as many possible saviours or modes of transcendence. This video work by recognized figures in the performance art scene reveals a hope Ã‘ maybe even a longing Ã‘ for transcendence, by combining Dadaesque absurdity with self-indulgent historical references and fragments of past narratives. In Rhyme ‘Em To Death (1994), Willem Dafoe defends a goat tried for witchcraft; Flaubert Dreams of Travel But His Mother’s Illness Prevents It (The Wooster Group & Ken Kobland, directed by Elizabeth LeCompte, 1986) exemplifies dreams of transcendence over death; and Charles Atlas’ Son of Sam and Delilah (1991) takes serial killer Son of Sam to the Disco where he acts out his rage against homosexuals and other ‘decadents’ in the morally repugnant club scene. By blowing away some cool 90s New Yorkers, Atlas makes ancient and modern castration narratives coalesce in the transcendental glitter of televisual space. Violence and eroticism are taken to the extreme in Super Honey (1994), Atlas’ latest tape about ambivalence, desire and sex in the future- present. This pseudo sci-fi tape is inhabited by the ‘libidinous robots, human profligates, and statuesque hairdressers’ of Atlas’ imagination, all perfectly conforming to his unique aesthetic. This screening will be the Canadian premiere of Super Honey, an important piece by a video artist often overlooked outside the U.S. (Christopher Eamon)
by Charles Atlas