Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The 54 Tattoo

We have been selling and inscribing tattoos with Tim Shelton as auction donations all over town and recently started a print series documenting the completed tattoos. So far we have two of the three tattoos in this series done. The image on the far right was the Artist Proof. It was tattooed on Brian while filming  54 at OCMA during the 2010 California Biennial. Brian was the tattoo-double for James. In the narrative of 54, James's character receives the tattoo as a sign of affiliation and allegiance to the film's controlling antagonist group, referred to as The Council. Justin Gilanyi's (left) tattoo was purchased at LACE  and Carl Smith's (center) was purchased at MOCA

54: Ritual of the Mark, Production Stills #1-5,  2012

The symbol in the tattoo is based on tesseract or more commonly referred to as a hypercube, a representation of the four-dimensional space.  "A tesseract is in principle obtained by combining two cubes. The scheme is similar to the construction of a cube from two squares: juxtapose two copies of the lower dimensional cube and connect the corresponding vertices."  The idea of  multi-dimensions is intriguing to us for the film's narrative, the film's relationship to the viewers in the immersive installation, and the project as a whole. Time and space as it relates to the both temporality  and eternalism  are investigated. We want our characters to slip between this dimensions in the film and the viewers interacting with interface of the database which control the film's narrative to think of their relationship to the project as inter-dimsensional. Also, With the larger critique, we want to position the "biennial" as the eternal and each permutation or exhibition that is presented every 2 years is the temporal (i.e. 2012 Venice Biennale: Illuminations). Beyond the politics of dimensionalism, which we are first admit that we grossly lack exhaustive knowledge, we want our audience understanding they are inside one dimension but outside another. In the case of our symbol, we added several vertices to match the title of our film, 54. We also found some joy in the idea that this addition rendered the form mathematically impossible to express...a fair criticism for the project. Coaguala's Publisher, Mat Gleason referred to 54 in 2010 as "Absurdamente Complesso" or in english - "Absurdly Complex."  We are generally attracted to messy ideas.

The cubes  have also been a long-standing element in the 54 project. Their clean rectilinear lines, static presence, and absence of hue create an interesting juxtaposition to our living breathing moving protagonist.  The cubes are otherworldly (perhaps even a different dimension) and having an unknown or undefined purpose. They don't seem to be noticed in the ancient urban landscape of Venice, Italy. To date, we haven't divulged their specific meaning in the narrative. They are present in the film but never in the same shot as the protagonist. We like that there are formal and conceptual similarities between the protagonist and the cubes. The symbol demonstrates the link between these two physically/cinematically marginalized "characters" and their ability to be simultaneously expressed and related. 

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