Torsten Lauschmann: Startle Reaction
- Neil Cooper
- 9 December 2011
Explores tangled-up mess of interconnectivity
You don’t immediately notice the quieter, more domestic pieces in Torsten Lauschmann’s biggest box of tricks to date. The subverted digital clock above the DCA box office and the wired-up chandelier that hangs in Gallery One, where two of Lauschmann’s films are looped, aren’t as flashy as the rest of what’s on show. They don’t seek to dazzle and disorientate; they don’t beep or buzz, flash or fade, whirr or whizz like much else on show in the gently immersive time-sequenced theme park Lauschmann hood-winks us into believing in. Yet, for all their functional discretion, these two pieces nevertheless shed light on the big, tangled-up mess of interconnectivity that Startle Reaction is all about.
This is clear, too, in his films. ‘Misshapen Pearl’ is an impressionistic meditation on the place where natural light morphs into neon. Artifice as well as interconnectivity exists in ‘Skipping Over Damaged Areas’, which edits seemingly incongruous big-screen title sequences to make up a phony narrative given trailer-like credence by a big-talking voiceover.
Elsewhere, lost jockeys in flight become computer-jammed still lives; a mansion resembling Rebecca’s Manderley becomes a piece of cut-out shape shadow-play; and a player-piano bashes out little modernist cacophonies while snow falls into the light like some sub-Beckettian floor-show.
Beckett is there too in the show’s most oddly poignant piece, in which a projector seemingly gazes out of the gallery window, its computerised voice yearning to be among the streetlights and the CCTV cameras in the concrete jungle where night turns to day and back again.
Personified and sentimentalised like the ‘injured’ robot in Douglas Trumball’s eco-hippy sci-fi fable, Silent Running, there’s a sense of eternal disappointment to the projector’s monologue. This is surveillance-culture Happy Days. The projector’s head may not be buried in the sand, but bolted immobile it’s still forced to watch the world pass by, the sun forever out of reach.
Dundee Contemporary Arts, until Sun 8 Jan