Single-channel HD video, operetta for virtual reality, assorted polaroids
installation of dichroic fill
Virtuality and queerness share common conceptual ground. They each destabilize what is natural and taken for granted by emphasizing the performed and experienced rather than what is “objectively real.” LaFleur explores this construct with regard to personal freedom and ideas of the rebel body in her recent work, New Frontiers.
Written and performed as an operetta for virtual reality, New Frontiers includes a three-chapter video artwork based on a collection of radio interviews produced by the artist’s grandfather in 1969. The narrative of this work follows a housewife who was asked to take LSD for the first time as a case-study, and the ensuing conversation about her body between LSD advocate Timothy Leary and anti-LSD activist Dr. John Schooler. Antique gelatin moulds - relics from our past and windows into cultural ideas of female objectification - are 3D scanned and reworked in virtual space to “jiggle” digitally in response to audio in real-time. A material that the artist uses frequently, gelatin is a powder derived from the bone, ligament, and intestines of horses, cows, and pigs, it is tied to the space race, ammunition, the construct of the homemaker, and specific moments in American history.
Accompanying this video is a wheat pasted manifesto, and a series of photographs in which the artist replaces the technology used to produce this work with only her body to create a lexicon in the form of a choreographed score. This imagery produces a parallel between the virtual and the real that demonstrates a shared frustration with both the digital and the domestic. Referencing the traditional frame rate of film, each grid includes 24 images of the artist’s body swaying, squatting, and gazing through repeated gestures.
All of the works in New Frontiers are situated entirely within a reflective two-tone dichroic surface, an incandescent composite of metals, oxides and glass developed by NASA, that acts like a selective prism, transmitting one color and reflecting another. The immersive qualities of this surface reflect LaFleur’s relentless questioning of the role of technology when compared to the perceptible and invisible qualities of constructing identity.