Feb
22
2014
<em>The Alices</em><br />A Sculptural Opera in One Act
 

Claudia Hart
The Alices, 2013
A Sculptural Opera in One Act
Installation view at The Arts Club of Chicago, Chicago, IL.

The Alices is an installation piece, yet at the same time it is an opera. Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s classical children’s tale Alice In Wonderland, it has been reimagined here as a living painting – what was once called a tableau vivant – which has at its center two works of art that both use and also comment upon the culture of high technology.

The first of these objects are the Nue Morte, a special porcelain dish using custom-designed augmented reality software that allows a viewer to see a perversely erotic illusion: a naked woman lying across one’s food. Viewed through an clickable application easily uploaded from the Internet and installed on a smart phone, the tossing and turning body of the Nue Morte evokes early Surrealist cinema: a beautiful nude torso overrun by “artificially intelligent” cockroaches to create an intentionally paradoxical contradiction in terms of life and of death.

The second work is a piece of conceptual software created by designer Alon Zouartez. Zouartez’s Spinabook takes an original text and processes it by using a legal form of plagiarism, substituting words with their synonyms to create a legitimate but unethical clone.

In The Alices, Hart spins a short excerpt of Lewis Carroll’s original Alice in Wonderland, to create a text that slowly devolves as it is repetitively cloned. After six variations, the excerpt comes to mean its opposite – a succinct demonstration of the perversion of truth that occurs when things “go viral” on our public media.

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