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Indepth Arts News:

"Filler: A Multimedia Installation by Sam van Aken"
2003-02-05 until 2003-03-01
Boston, MA, USA

Sam van Aken continues his investigation into the spaces between reality and the fictional life we inhabit through pop culture in this new multi media installation. With subtle humor and pointed levity van Aken changes the way we perceive entertainment as he questions where the fantasy ends and the actual begins. The filler installation includes the video installation The Multiple Deaths of Willem Dafoe, an audio work composed of over 250 stereo speakers entitled Oh My God, and the photo based works Pictures from Xanadu.

"I've always been fascinated as to how you can watch an actor go from movie to movie falling in love, growing older or being murdered and yet when they star in a new role you're willing to suspend reality or what you actually witnessed and believe this new character. And I've also wondered why for no apparent reason a song will seem to pop into your mind and you're trapped for the rest of the day singing or whistling a tune and for some reason the song is never one of your favorites. It's these thoughts that have led to my most recent work, Filler. This multimedia installation looks at how pop culture and daily life have become intertwined and inseparable through such works as The Multiple Deaths of Willem Dafoe, Oh My God, and Pictures from Xanadu.

"In The Multiple Deaths of Willem Dafoe, there are black and white televisions placed among funeral flower arrangements. The video being played through the televisions is a remembrance of the numerous death scenes of Willem Dafoe and my own personal search for closure in the untimely deaths of this Hollywood celebrity.

"The audio work Oh My God is composed of over 250 stereo speakers that continuously play clips of the phrase 'oh my god'. Sampled from CNN, porn, B-movie horror flicks, 'Trading Spaces' and various other sources, these audio clips express different emotions between pleasure and terror. Looking at how sitcoms, movies, and news shows have the ability to manipulate your emotional and psychological state, Oh My God tries to place the viewer in that space between reality and what is experienced through media.

"The Pictures from Xanadu were developed by taking a single roll of film and shooting multiple exposures over each frame. The imagery for these prints was shot from the internet, television, magazines, land and cityscapes. The Pictures from Xanadu try to capture actual environments as well as those experienced through the media, and in the process look at how image and meaning become layered and confused."

Sam van Aken

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