Review on Al and Al, ‘Eternal Youth’, Exhibition and Screenings at Fact.
Written by Gaynor Evelyn Sweeney.
10 May 2008.
Al and Al is the first solo screening in the UK. This has been defined by Fact, as ‘forming a vital part of Liverpool’s Year of Culture celebrations and Fact’s Human Futures programme’. The work includes a new video installation ‘Eternal Youth’ (2008), which was commissioned by Fact and presented with two existing works and a blue screen interactive studio.
Al and Al are two UK artists who produce computer generated videos that take popular culture through the means of celebrity icons, live action performance combined with animation special effects. The work takes the very media and technology in post modern visual culture from gaming, iconic references, cyber and alternative realities with an array of other items of prevalence and fuses them to realise a discourse with the self in the temporal and spatial realms captured, explicated and exploded on screen. The art explores the power popular culture and mediation. Interstellar Stella shows a child model who enters a journey into a labyrinth of her advertising images.
This digital work looks at the origins of ‘paparazzi’ from a study of Fellini’s ‘La Dolce Vita’, not only but the concept and experiential demonstrations of morality gauged by the economy and the emerging mass-consumer lifestyle, as is with mass media, concept living, alternative existences in the 21st century. ‘Perpetual Motion in the Land of Milk and Honey’ adopts and reforms the artist’ grandfather’s lifelong aspirations to produce a perpetual motion mechanism which will generate free power. This work incorporates characters from Britney Spears, the Lamb of God and more to critique through visual dialogue the mechanisations of capitalism and the possibilities born from technology.
Al and Al’s ‘Eternal Youth’, their most current work, alludes to the killing of one of the city’s icons, John Lennon. The film references urban space undergoing a renaissance, a rebirth, while in conflict with old orders from the past. The story is one relative to the youth of place and the mediation technology formulates.
Winston Glory’s assassin, a character from the film, similar to Mark Chapman whom shot Lennon in 1981, is fixated with the idea he has formed of his hero. Both these works are cognitive by J. D. Salinger’s book ‘The Catcher in the Rye’. In contemporary society’s culture infatuated with romantic ideologies of celebrity status, new media platforms in cyber space, mobile video and more permit the audience, the everyday person, to access, interact, manipulate and redefine our own image and sets numerous possibilities to transform the individual self to something other aspired.
Al and Al’s exhibition installation allows members of the public to become part of this narrative and intervention where their own being becomes the performer.
The films by Al and Al capture and entrance the viewer in a sense of gaming with an implicit association formed with the characters. The surreal embodied in digital techno-colour trigger the imagination to follow the journey and believe.
I would strongly recommend to view this exhibition and screenings of the work by Al and Al, as it takes the visual dialogue experienced in modern technological lifestyles and mass media consumerism and jettisons you into another world – the world of Al and Al.
The exhibition, runs from 18 April to 08 June 2008 at: