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In colloquial terms, “uncanny” usually means an extremely close likeness, but Sigmund Freud defined the uncanny as something weirdly and nearly familiar—not wholly recognizable. This incongruence induces a sense of cognitive dissonance, a liminal space that’ll make you feel both drawn to and repulsed by the subject. Removing the element of existential disgust, these installations brought me to the realm of the uncanny: momentarily removed from reality, but starkly aware of the fact that although I felt transported, I was standing in the middle of an art trade show. Many of the works here use immersion to explore sexuality, identity, and the relationship of the body to nature, the city, or technology. Temporary escapism, the kind that ultimately brings you back to reality, can be fun.
Another dream-within-a-dream, Rives Wiley’s DIY Laser Eye Surgeryinstallation is a diorama—built right into the wall— inspired by YouTube tutorials. It depicts a tutorial for DIY Lasik surgery complete with color-changing eyedroppers, the person watching the video, and the space between the two of them. The video itself is made to look like a YouTube clip, with a red time-ticker carried along by pulleys. Then, we pull back —the diorama has a distorted slant— to the viewer, whose giant head is turned away from us. The lens glare of the camera hangs in the form of resin sculptures. It was hard not to step inside this dream world.
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