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By Andrew Frost
Encased in a gold body stocking, tethered by tubes that lead to a dialysis machine, and flanked by video screens, John A. Douglas is a technological Buddha. In a series of performances and installations, Douglas presents Body Fluid II [Redux], one of his most ambitious exhibitions to date and the latest iteration in a series that attests to his fascination with performance, film and the aestheticsisation of his medical condition. Requiring many hours of dialysis a day, Douglas highlights the science fictional connotations of man-machine interface, making very strange the body and the slipstream between recognition and the alien.
As his body fluids pass through the machine, Douglas strikes poses, sleeps, or acts out small and obscure narratives holding what appears to be scientific instruments, pulling the tubes tight, letting them go slack, all the while accompanied by a soundtrack of undulating electronics and environmental ambiences. On the screens, the gold figure traipses across deserts; snow covered mountains and flies through the sky. There are references to Nicolas Roeg’s The Man Who Fell To Earth in which David Bowie portrayed an alien who was seen in a body suit not unlike Douglas’s, while the bleak plains and mountains suggest Andrei Tarkosky’s films. Rich with art world allusions, particularly the body suit performances of Leigh Bowery, and layered with personal symbolism, this is one of Douglas’s most audacious and successful exhibitions.
Until June 16,
Sun – Wed, 10am – 6pm (installation) Thurs – Sat & Sun 16 June, 10am – 8pm
Pic: John A. Douglas, Body Fluid II [Redux], 2013. Performance. Courtesy the artist and Performance Space.
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