Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tate Modern Revisited

Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster’s “TH.2058,” at the Tate Modern is much harder to describe than the activist art at the Saatchi. It is installed in the Tate Modern’s cavernous exhibition space on the eastern part of the ground floor. It consists of a Calder-like soaring red sculpture and a malevolent, giant spider intertwined.

Plus a complete replication of a dinosaur skeleton. Plus a 32 minute big-screen video playing continuously “The Last Film” which includes selections from Alphaville, Le Chant du styrene, Electronic Labyrinth, TX 1138 4EB, and-did I mention it?- Invasion of the Body Snatchers (just to name a few).

And the beds. Fold in several hundred metal double-decker cots complete with reading material such as Ursula LeGuin’s Lathe of Heaven. What do we have here?

Well, one answer is “nothing.” But this provides closure too abruptly. We have some sort of dystopia here, occasioned by, or simply envisioned, in all of these science-fiction narratives and capped off in the films: violence, the atomic “flash”; the message in Planet of the Apes…

Gonzalez-Foerster leads us in a recapitulation of the emotive cycle: from Sci-Fi beginnings to the endless rain imagined in 2058, the year for which the exhibition is named.

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