ACM SIGGRAPH's DIGITAL ARTS COMMUNITY (DAC)
"PIGS CRISIS" – VIDEO INSTALLATION BY TAMMY MIKE LAUFER in Janco Dada Museum ISRAEL
PIGS CRISIS – VIDEO INSTALLATION
By Tammy Mike Laufer
"[…] Our fellow citizens had not the faintest reason to apprehend the incidents that took place in the spring of the year in question […] It was about this time that our townsfolk began to show signs of uneasiness. For, from April 18 onwards, quantities of dead or dying rats were found in factories and warehouses […] From the outer suburbs to the center of the town […] In every thoroughfare, rats were piled up in garbage cans or lying in long lines in the gutters. The evening papers that day took up the matter and inquired whether or not the city fathers were going to take steps, and what emergency measures were contemplated, to abate this particularly disgusting nuisance […] And it was then that fear, and with fear serious reflection, began." [i ]
Tammy Mike Laufer’s installation, “PIGS crisis”, is an absurd surrealist, Dadaist work that combines video art with a wall work displaying a single frame from the video. The video is much like a psychedelic computer game in which the electronic trance music of DJ Liam Shachar accompanies a virtual visual creation by Mike Laufer. Using computerized painting and imaging techniques, the two- and three-dimensional are brought together in a composition that includes textures, shapes, and objects formed from countless polygons, enabling it to rotate 360o in space .
Linking the private with the public, Mike Laufer presents an alternative simulacrum, a digital fantasy. Its scenario depicts the arrival of flying pigs on Earth and on distant galaxies. In the course of their travels, they are confronted by viruses, hostile creatures, and other enemies. The pigs fight like characters in a home video game, flying in and out and sowing terror wherever they go. Eventually they grow weary and withdraw back into the game. A string of coins appears, piling up and declaring the end of the game. Who won? Who lost? Time ran out and the game is over. Did we survive the plague? Did we manage to cope with it? And when will the next one come?
The term “PIGS crisis” is a reference to the panic triggered by the current global economic crisis, which has replaced the fear of a swine flu pandemic. PIGS is an acronym for four members of the European Union (Portugal, Ireland, Greece, and Spain), whose huge deficits and national debts are jeopardizing their economic stability. If they are unable to repay their debts, the fragile house of cards known as the European economy, and indeed the European Union itself, are in danger of collapse. The single currency has gone from being an advantage to a disadvantage, and the PIGS crisis now threatens all of Europe.
Mike Laufer’s installation is a metaphor for the social, financial, and existential crisis that strikes at every generation. One plague follows on the heels of another, causing panic and terror, both conscious and unconscious. And just as in Albert Camus’s The Plague, feeling powerless under conditions of siege, we come together in our fear in an attempt to preserve our humanity.
[i] Albert Camus, The Plague, Stuart Gilbert (trans.), NY: Vintage Books, 1991, pp. 4-23
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