MICROSCOPE Gallery presents Eye Transgress a comprehensive solo exhibition of more than 2 decades of works by the legendary underground artist Nick Zedd, a leading figure of the Lower East Side cinematic revolution, the Cinema of Transgression – a term he coined in a manifesto proclaiming “a new generation of filmmakers daring to rip out of the stifling straight jackets of film theory in a direct attack on every value system known to man.” Eye Transgress features works on paper, never before seen films and videos, and the debut of Zedd’s complete “ENTITIES” series of paintings, presented in its entirety for the first time.
For the past three years, Zedd has been working almost exclusively on the new “ENTITIES” oil paintings. The works are manifestations of Zedd’s “Theory of Xenomorphosis”, which posits the possibility of a super-evolutionary process leading to mutation through the injection of an alien genetic code.
The evolution from taboo into freedom comes through xenomorphosis.
For Eye Transgress, Zedd has also uncovered previously unseen film footage from his archives and issues of his groundbreaking Underground Film Bulletin. Additionally, his epic cable access TV series “Adventures of Electric Elf”, a video collaboration with performance artist/writer Reverend Jen in the mid-2000s and a new video diary from Mexico will also be on view.
Zedd’s provocative, humorous, yet intensely beautiful works have transcended their cult origins to influence mainstream culture from music videos to commercial pulp movies. Nick Zedd’s works have been shown world-wide – often with great resistance — and are in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).
“Zedd’s work is angry, disturbing, provocative: it is also consistent, original and more than less fearless. He is very much out of the underground and independent tradition….”
Larry Kardish – MoMA
OPENING RECEPTION SATURDAY JANUARY 8, 7-10PM
with special projection of films & videos by Nick Zedd at 9pm, featuring:
TOM THUMB, 1999
ECSTASY IN ENTROPY , 1999
NO PLAGUE LIKE HOME, 2007
(trt: 60 mins)
All images are courtesy of Nick Zedd © 2010
For more info, visit artist’s website: www.nickzedd.com
THEORY OF XENOMORPHOSIS
Nick Zedd, 1998
Xenomorphosis is the process through which negation of the fraudulent values, institutions, mores and taboos of consensus reality is accomplished. It is the key transforming moment in the transgression of mass media. The unlocking of the unconscious triggered in the darkened theater by the flickering light and the seduction of the irresistible through the illusion of motion forms a magic wherein psychological and environmental factors combine to dilate chains of association. Amos Vogel has said “The essence of cinema is not light, but a secret compact between light and darkness”.
Half the time we spend viewing movies is spent in total darkness. With the psychological complicity of the viewer, persistence of vision occurs. The initially demoralizing effect of xenomorphosis, wherein alienation and transformation occurs, can be frightening, infuriating, and shocking to those who have been indoctrinated by an exploitative and hierarchical system. But it is only through this experience of transformation wherein one’s cultural conditioning is subverted, that mutation occurs. Xenomorphosis, triggered during persistence of vision by the use of diametrically opposing variables; ie: libido excitation versus mutilation revulsion, results in a form of cognitive dissonance. The subconscious reconciliation of the matter/anti-matter equation is a union of opposites. The life/death, win/lose, right/wrong dichotomy imposed by the dominant hierarchy is revealed to the xenomorphic mind as a false equation.
This false dichotomy is the method by which social control is maintained. Its subversion is the final step in the process of transgression to what Nietzsche called beyond good and evil. Xenomorphosis occurs when the empirical elements of projected sound and image conspire to negate and destroy, through the retina, neuro-pathways designed to domesticate and tranquilize. A primordial atom of unthinkable mass, in one trillionth of a second, during xenomorphosis, will explode, forming protons, neutrons and other subatomic particles, resulting in a dense fog of matter and radiant energy. In one hundred seconds, helium and other light elements will form. In three hundred thousand years the universe becomes transparent and all illusions disperse. The moment of subversion wherein the viewers prejudices and conditioning are completely eroded, usually occurs at the moment of laughter. It can be nervous laughter, a belly laugh, or a procession of giggles.
The important point is, this moment of elation is based on derision and can be likened to a big bang. According to this theory, immediately proceeding the bang, the false vacuum of audience expectation was spinning in some kind of nether state. Occasionally it underwent routine fluctuations, most of which, like most quantum changes, were minor. But quantum fluctuations can be sensational also and over the eons of movie viewing, a sensational fluctuation struck the false vacuum, causing everything to come unglued. Splicing tape was then used, reversing images, turning them upside down and projecting pictures one frame at a time, surrounded by other images. Fantastic levels of gravity were set free, momentarily curving nucleotide templates activated by radiation to evolve new nervous systems, these particles materilizing in astonishing numbers. The gravity repelling force of these restructured motion pictures was also released, rocketing everything outward. So much energy and particles were created that a new universe occurred. Xenomorphosis is what happens when the domain wall of an alternate universe crashes into your reality. Neurological re-engineering occurs.
An essential element in the transgressive paradigm is danger. Throughout human existence, when the bio survival brain flashes danger, all other mental activities cease. This is of key importance in brain programming: to create a new imprint, first reduce the subject to the state on infancy, also known as first-brain vulnerability. The first step is isolation in the darkened theater. The longer the isolation is, the more vulnerable to new imprint the audience member becomes. It is in this alien environment that the viewer willingly permits himself to be invaded by images and sounds manipulated by the xenomorph/director/magician.
All vision, as Rudolph Arnheim has pointed out, reflects an invasion of the organism by external forces which upset the balance of the nervous system. There is a dialectical wavering between self-absorption (personal associations triggered by the images) and self-abandonment. Closest to between waking and sleeping, the viewer, upon seeing the movement of shocking images become atavistic and in such a state, vulnerable to new imprint, hooks to whatever external entity comes closest to the mother archetype. The basic principle of xenomorphosis is beyond revolutionary. It is super-evolutionary. Our human evolutionary process points to mutation through the injection of an alien genetic code to metamorphosis (rejuvenation) resulting in xenomorphosis. The evolution from taboo into freedom comes through xenomorphosis.