Fall 2016, Issue #31: “META-“


by Vanessa Renwick


NEXT LEVEL FUCKED UP is a 7 channel video installation. Two of the channels have audio, the others are silent. It is simultaneously gut-wrenching, hysterical, deadly serious and beautiful. The idea to make this piece came about from a conversation I was having with a friend, us bitching about this boiling point we are living within. In researching for it, I bookmarked so much tragedy over months and months of time. This piece could be never ending. Could be a web series.
I honed it in to the following subjects:
1. Monsanto
2. People picking up their dog’s shit, tying it in a bag, and then throwing it on the ground. This happens all over Portland.
3. English Bulldogs being bred with heads so large that they need to be born through c-sections, and their vaginas have been bred so far forward that the males can’t reach them anymore, so they need to be artificially inseminated.
4. Gentrification through developer greed. Tear downs of affordable homes; replacing them with monstrosities that only the rich can buy. And cutting down a lot of trees and habitat as well.
5. Wildlife Management (trying to save starving abandoned baby seals through force feeding) and (crawling into dens of hibernating bears to re-collar them).
6. Cats killing birds
7. Dogs with testicles – good or bad?
8. A hodgepodge of horrible – Katrina/Fukushima/Hurricane Sandy/Mountain top removal/Martin Shrekli/Forest fires due to global warming/Melting glaciers/Oil trains on fire.
9. Elephants in captivity. (by Colleen Plumb)
10. You – as some of the monitors are covered with mylar, and you can see your reflection while watching the piece.
Then the ending brings us out to geologic time seen through layers of geology in the landscape and to the idea that this all used to be under the ocean, and bliss eventually comes to the rescue with a dash of full-on double-rainbow guy’s over-the-top audio freak out slipped in.
Three musicians helped me bring the piece to fruition. I asked Sam Coomes to make some NEXT LEVEL FUCKED UP refrains for me to use as punctuation, which turned out quite comical. Michael Hurley is singing his own song about Monsanto. Marisa Anderson supplies the ethereal guitar for the bliss section.



2 comments for “Fall 2016, Issue #31: “META-“

  1. Sophie
    October 3, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    I am curious about how you decided to set the screens up in that pyramid stack as opposed to hanging them on the wall or stacking them another way. I found a kind of dark comical pleasure in listening to the woman talk about genetically manipulating a house pet without an explanation as to why this was so important that the breeding capabilities of pit bulls be completely controlled by their owners.
    All of the themes felt urgent and personally meaningful to me, though their repercussions felt accepted as inevitable – which I found to be perhaps the most compelling aspect of this project. Thank you!

    • October 22, 2016 at 11:36 am

      HI Sophie, The mountain of monitors relates to the projection of the mountain of Earth Balance on top of the Earth Balance container that is projected to the right of the monitors for part of the piece. That is Mt. Hood, which is easily seen from Portland.
      The woman is talking about an English Bulldog. Not a pitbull, I am a little confused by what you were saying about that. Thanks for your comments!

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