Curated by Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan
Hanover Drive-In, Fabulous Festival of Fringe Film, August 2015
Horror connects to one of our most ancient and primal desires: Voyeurism. The imagery
of death and evil could be a metaphor for art itself - the irrepressible desire to look.
We delight in being frightened. Ghost stories, creature-feature B movies, television
stories that focus on the paranormal… fear thrills us. Its manifestation through art has
always been a means to cope with primal terrors of life and death. We have fetishized the
objects of our fear through artmaking; we have fetishized the fears themselves.
However, in the 21st century we also live with the fears of the moment, and a pervasive
system of information delivery (mass media) that gives us information and images to
horrify on a minute-by-minute basis. News of terrorism, war, economic collapse, rising
cancer rates and global warming (to name but a few contemporary horrors) cumulatively
blanket us with sensory shock and awe. Much of contemporary Western life is predicated
upon such fears. Political systems, consumerism and world economies are informed by an
ethic of scarcity. An environment of impending loss, doom and failure in turn paralyses
and drives us.
Scary Movies realizes our complex relationship with our fears through the work of
contemporary media artists, providing scream therapy that is experimental, timely and
thoughtful. It also reflects a feminist application of the “scare genre”, to reveal on-going
cultural anxieties with respect to female sexuality, power and the body. Writ large on the
drive-in movie screen, these collective horrors with respect to normativity and gender are
revealed as what they are: camp, laughable.
This program of single channel videos plays with the tropes of mainstream suspense,
gore, ghost and monster features, and twists them in conceptual ways to terrify and
illuminate. They explore the tension between the physical and the technological, the
natural and the supernatural, the beautiful and the strange. An uneasy humour is often
present, as is the grotesque. They remind us of the joy in being scared silly, revelling in
the mysterious while examining the social construction of our fears.
The single-channel program run-time is approximately 76 minutes
Cheryl Rondeau, Les petites morts, 2007, 2:15, VTape
Freya Borg Olafson, Hyper, 2013, 3:00, Video Pool
Helen Haig-Brown, The Cave, 2009, 10:42, VTape