“Alienation Bodies & Post Internet Architecture”


Suit up and come along with me to a snappy place where you can carve up your hammy body into what ever shape you desire. You know the one, the one living in your head, how many suits complete with egos do you have in your alienation closet. And what about faltering architectural concepts that collapses to a apologetic default position, anyway the Post Internet Architecture title was the hook, the real story is about our hidden selves, not that I won’t get back to all that post internet talk. From where I stand, it seems the internet is so far up our A**, that you might say we are stuck sitting on the post.

Alien Line Up
Alien Line Up

Back to the cute  rubbery dolls from Close Encounters of a Third Kind, not ET just those cute little rubber sound generator playing aliens that returned all the people they kidnaped. Somewhere in the late seventies,  I had the opportunity to get security clearance to read the UFO files at the National Research Council in Ottawa, when I was there I wanted to see if other people had seen the UFO my family saw in June or July of 1970.  I did find other submissions that laid a path between Pembroke Ontario  threw Ottawa and on to Cornwall Ontario. Spooky stuff, Huh!  My theory on aliens is only three possibilities, 1. they came a long way and are lonely to fit in but are very self conscious about their appearances 2. they live on the dark side of the moon and they told the Americans to go away and not come back or they would swarm down on us and decimate everything or 3. they are us, visiting from the future and like psyching us out with their fancy technology, while laughing at our antiquated smart phones and computers.

Somehow in the early eighties at a critical point in my life these little figures started accumulating in my studio, people started giving them to me on a regular basis. This was years after C E T K, and the figures were hard to come by, especially the blue eyed aliens, they always felt gummy and weird when they came out of the package. The pinky colour was very creepy so I would spray them, after that it was a open season and I started thinking of them as voodoo doll personalities. Thats when I started building disaster monuments, which consisted mostly of tempered 1/2 inch glass and slabs of metal, I would stack them using anything that was somewhat round. The effect of the figures driving cars, playing guitars, skidding in paint on these teetering multiple layers, sometimes extending six feet high was exhilarating and funny. Never turn your back on a stack of glass and balls, any sudden noise or shake from a large truck driving by the studio could set them off. Disaster monuments.

IMG_9904
Photo montage of UFO painting submitted to the National Research Council’s Ufology files.
Calabogie Lake Studio where I painted my UFO paintins, 1974
Calabogie Lake Studio where I painted my UFO paintins, 1974

It doesn’t end there,  my friend Lena who worked at a theatre costume house suggested she could make me an alien costume, a head, pointer feet and long ickey fingers, the result was amazing. In all the times it was used in our Fastwurm films I only wore the costume once, so the alien is never consistent from one scene to another. It hardly matters it wasn’t a very expressive head, it looked like a sad alien head.  When I looked back on these figures I tried to connect with what my motivation was to go after this image so fervently. When I was younger, our entire family witnessed a UFO, and many years later with two friends at a cottage had a similar experience, so I know something is going on without a doubt. But after a while I let go the idea of these alien characters, in the final scene with the alien in Fauves Get Land Legs, the alien enters a bar and the mood is becomes quiet and tense, then a big guy steps forward and spittle yells at him GET OUT OF TOWN, ah movie magic. The story was over, until last summer when unpacking boxes of studio stuff, I hadn’t seen these little characters in twenty years, the little mohawk punk alien, the baby belly red alien, the slutty gold alien, the mr Roboto alien, absent was the napalmed melty boy alien, and Guill the fish fin headed alien. What was I thinking, where these things aspects of myself, a lego persona development kit, situated in disaster and hostile environments, vivisected, fashionated, post individual pawns. You tell me, we just had to part ways.

IMG_9907
UFO Painting made by anonymous man from the ROM Planetarium meeting.

Years later, while working as a security guard at the Royal Ontario Museum’s Planetarium there was a man who use to come in and sit by my desk and tell me all his UFO tales from the war and while he worked in northern Ontario. One day he came in and gave me an envelope full of photographs and paintings he had made of the UFO’s and notes, he asked me to get it to the right people and left, I never saw the man again. I kept the document which was about twenty six pages and entitled Majestic Twelve, but I didn’t read it till years later. The rest of the documents and images went to the National Research Council’s Ufology files. Then fast forward to 1999 and I was being interviewed in my studio by City TV for Oo La La an arts and culture show, it was about a painting show at the Angell Gallery. After an hour interview, they turned off the camera, and we sat chatting having a drink and out of the blue, the cameraman says, “What do you know about Majestic Twelve”. No one seemed taken by this out of the blue question, my response “It’s familiar, I think someone told me some story, some conspiracy thing”, and it’s off my roster of things to check out, I can wait till the alien overlords get here.

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