De-Extinction Elixir, 2020
Two single-channel videos, sample-based soundtrack, Big Wheel toy, hand-harvested red clay soil from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, liquid polymer asphalt, joint compound, wheatpaste, canvas, canary notebook paper,
college-ruled notebook paper, inkjet prints on paper, charcoal, crayons
The concept of "De-extinction," commonly referred to as "resurrection biology," explores the intriguing realm of bringing extinct species back to life through scientific means. A quintessential illustration of this concept can be found in the premise of the iconic film "Jurassic Park" (1993), where scientists use advanced technology to resurrect extinct creatures. Beyond its cinematic roots, the theme of "de-extinction" resonates with me as a contemplation of reversing certain historical narratives and exploring the transformative power of undoing past events.
One striking manifestation of this thematic exploration can be observed in the video installation beneath the Big Wheel, entitled "Bishop's Dream." Here, I employ a reversed clip technique, featuring a scene from the film "Menace II Society" (1993) where characters Caine and Sharif meet a tragic end. The reversal of this clip not only serves as a visual metaphor for undoing historical events but also prompts viewers to reconsider the consequences of actions within the larger narrative of the film. The profound impact of this reversed imagery is further enhanced by my personal connection to the film, having watched it in Los Angeles with my father during our travels, adding layers of personal and collective history to the installation.
Beyond cinematic references, the visual elements of the installation weave together a tapestry of diverse influences. Intriguingly, there's a portrayal of my mother traveling to a military base, a snapshot that adds another layer to the complex narrative. The inclusion of my high school mascot, the "Yellow Jacket," introduces a personal touch, merging the institutional with the individual in a nuanced exploration of identity and memory. Additionally, a large-scale dinosaur drawn with crayons on canary yellow notebook paper injects a whimsical yet poignant element, bridging the gap between the fantastical notion of de-extinction and the simplicity of childhood creativity.
Complementing the visual elements, I curated a distinctive soundtrack that incorporates reverse samples from my record collection. The deliberate use of reversed audio adds an auditory layer to the theme of undoing, echoing the visual motifs present in the installation. Furthermore, the inclusion of dinosaur noises sampled and altered from "Jurassic Park" (1993) creates a sonic bridge between the fictionalized de-extinction of dinosaurs in the film and the conceptual exploration within the installation. Low-end vibrations further underscore the immersive experience, enveloping viewers in an audiovisual journey that prompts contemplation on the intersection of science, history, and personal narrative.
In essence, the installation becomes a multi-sensory exploration, inviting viewers to engage with the intricate layers of reversed narratives and the concept of de-extinction. Through a diverse range of visual elements and a carefully crafted soundtrack, the installation serves as a dynamic space for reflection on the malleability of history, the interplay of personal and collective memory, and the potential for transformative storytelling.