Loose-y, Part I: This Shit is Gold

Shotgun Review

Loose-y, Part I: This Shit is Gold

By Sarah Hotchkiss September 24, 2014

Relieved to be in the physical world, away from a computer screen, I travel on a Friday evening to a quiet residential street in Bernal Heights and duck under a black tarp into a narrow, low-ceilinged garage. For a short while, I’m alone with the work: a tight display of video, sculpture, and drawings. To my left, a cement crawlspace is cast in the glow of red disco lights. To my right, a plywood ramp is draped in strips of gold foil, proclaiming itself “THE TOMB OF THE APHALACEPHALE.” Ahead, looped projections and a grid of drawings line the garage walls.

My eyes adjust to the dimness and I inspect, watch, and listen, instantly forgetting my workaday baggage. Projected on a sheet of drywall, a series of videos stars Lucien Jamey as the title character, Loose-y. Wearing a trench coat, wig, and black-and-white face paint reminiscent of a Kiss fan at the end of a very long night, he examines his surroundings and says, “I could be really happy here,” and “I can feel free,” with his limbs pressed against floor and ceiling, his back bent, his legs askew.

Loose-y is both cave man and cave woman (think of Lucy, the famous hominid). His entertaining monologues cover, among other subjects, the integral elements of a mystical text, the integral elements of a screenplay, and cave drawings, which we recently learned were likely created by women.1 The cycle of digital-video vignettes plays on a loop, punctuated by a thumping bass line. Loose-y’s videos resemble a Mike Kelley performance on a Paul McCarthy set, produced as live-action Fractured Fairy Tales.

To the left of the projected videos are eight monoprints, lit from below by colored clamp lights. Striated white ink on black paper lends the series a mystical air, emphasized by titles like Exerplasmic Orgasmic Shoulder Stand (from the A Life Performance of Mediated Self Becoming series) and Tinsel Hairball #2 Emolumence (from the Capital: Abject series). The prints’ mixture of text and cartoonish drawings link Loose-y’s talk of screenplays to the second looped video in the space, This Shit is Gold.

So completely has Olivia Mole transformed this Bernal Heights garage into an otherworldly space that I am compelled to sit on a concrete ledge and watch This Shit is Gold twice. In this video, a cartoon pile of sparkling—what else?—shit sprouts hairs while one human eyeball peers from its top, blinking eerily. Gold computer-rendered female figures dance to the crescendos of Rossini’s overture to La Gazza Ladra.2, 3 A chasm opens, swallowing everything, and the hairy shit and blinking eyeball return.

The weird spell of this scene and its hold on my attention is broken by the arrival of other visitors. As the black tarp is shifted, daylight glints off the garage-tomb’s gold-foil ribbons. The red-laser patterns inside the crawlspace dim slightly to reveal contemporary cave drawings made with red iron oxide in Vaseline, barbeque charcoal, and tempera paint. As the very best antidote to monotony, Mole’s installation interrupted my reality, displacing stress and worry with a strange combination of disco lights and discomfort that I would gladly revisit. Part two can’t come soon enough.

Loose-y Part I: This Shit is Gold is on view at In the garage: 118 Virginia Ave, in San Francisco, through August 31, 2014.

Notes

  1. Virginia Hughes, “Were the First Artists Mostly Women?” National Geographic, October 8, 2013, http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/10/131008-women-handprints-oldest-neolithic-cave-art/.
  2. Like the bizarre, gigantic, and anatomically unlikely nudes transplanted from the Burning Man playa to our neighborhood parks and plazas. 
  3. The title is usually translated as The Thieving Magpie. Mole notes it has also been used in Ren & Stimpy and in A Clockwork Orange “to denote scenes of ultra-violence."

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