Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Bad Dream About A Bad Movie

by Drew Martin
I had a dream last night that The Cell was being refilmed and I was supposed to do a scene in it hanging from flesh hooks. It was a dreadful thought and throughout the dream I was like, "I am not going to do this." Fortunately, I woke up before anything weird happened. The Cell was a film from 2000 with Jennifer Lopez and Vince Vaughn about a serial killer and having to link into his twisted mind in order to locate his final victim. It is not a good film but the director Tarsem Singh arrived at it from the world of music videos so it is visually loaded, but nothing original. The Cell borrowed heavily from the work of Damien Hirst and Matthew Barney. The scenes of the killer suspended from flesh hooks came out of the 1990's wave of body piercings that brought greater attention to artists such as Stelarc (Stelios Arcadiou) from Australia, who had been suspending his body with flesh hooks since the seventies. That era of performance art was shared with artists such as Chris Burden who did Shoot in 1971, where a friend shot him in the arm with a rifle. There was also his Trans-fixed in 1974, in which Burden was crucified on the back of a Volkswagen Beetle, with his hands nailed into the roof. Stelarc used flesh hooks to discover his psychological and physical limitations. He has concluded that we are "biologically inadequate" and need to be overhauled with cyborg parts. On his role of the artist he offered,

“I've always been uneasy about the artist as simply a craftsperson who just simply makes or produces cultural artifacts that are considered beautiful or sensitive or whatever. What's more intriguing is the artist who works with ideas, who uses (his or her) art as a means of exploring the personal and the public and who tries to get a sense of what it means to exist in the world. And I'm much happier if the artist is seen as a poet or a philosopher than as a craftsperson."