contemporary art, performance art, philosophy, video installation

Plastique Fantastique, Impossible Diagrams

May 27, 2011

What to make of a flicker between a bandaged head and a face carved in a brieze block. Or an unshaven mouth which hi-jacks a news report. Or self-immolation illustrated as if for a kids’ book.

Quite a bit happens in the Plastique Fantastique show at Grey Area. Not all is easy to describe and even less is easy to interpret. The entertainment above is on a reel called PFTV.

On this channel a masked and spangly demon pops up, curses us, and with a voice garbled-by-vocoder intones: “There is not and never has been anything to understand.”

It transpires Plastique Fantastique are into the philosophy of Deleuze and Guattari. The love of nonsense and invention of mad schemas with which to overlay reality may come from there.

So a nearby video installation breaks down PFTV content into idiot-proof diagrams. Captions such as “You taste the object/ The object tastes you,” are still stupefying.

Still, you should never dismiss the incomprensible. Two Plastique Fantastique performances, documented here, the ritual punishment of a victim by a band of futuristic savages.

Hanging the man from his feet may be aim at inverting the status quo. But if not, these scenes still feel urgent and deep in meaning. It’s a feeling; there may be no point understanding it.

Impossible Diagrams is at Grey Area, Brighton, until May 29. See gallery website for more details.

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