If the internet seeped into the real world, the monsters that ooze out would be Simon Pericich’s pets. His shiny teethed shape-shifting mutants would have all the clichés of internet culture – the stickers of glib, the full range of emoticons for psychological states, the alerts to impending doom and a knowing glitch of a self-aware smirk.
Pericich’s new video CROWD sorcering draws us in with the guise of music videos, those snack sized otherworldly experiences packaged for the attention deficient. At first the emotive melody lulls us in to feeling like this is another one of those poignant ads for a bank or car, or some other consumer entitlement. The teaser of vocal keeps us just on the verge of recognising something that we’ve heard before. Our voyeuristic journey is raced through an uncannily banal void, a people-less car park made all the more bleak with masses of people either side. Image and sound conjure the feel of being alone in a crowded world, like pacing through constructed environments with headphones of random tunings, waiting for the end of the limbo. In this architecture of sameness and repetition we are spun round in circles with only number signs hinting that we may be progressing up.
We watch the thrashing mass of people, the kind of mob frenzy that’s supposed to make you feel alive with the ecstasy to lose yourself and let the collective energy take over. We know this imagery from monumental decadent parties or political demonstrations for some kind of youth rebellion. But without being shown the entertainment or identifying the cause, all we see is the sheer mass of population. They may be partying or rioting, or whatever people do when we get together en mass, but there is something ominous about it. The uneasy repulsion of seeing so many individuals blurred into an egoless swarm, like a funeral march for a war or frieze of Hell, able to turn from celebration to destruction in the unseen turn of a corner.
Pericich embellishes this spectacle from the beautifully grotesque to the disturbing by illuminating the forces that are operating. Imagery of perceived fun is rendered as potential sedition by highlighting those yellow uniformed ones where their presence is to keep control, restrain under the guise of protection. Likewise the yellowed lines and arrows in the constructed world direct where to go and how to move; devices so familiar that you don’t even know you are following.
The crowd shots are crowd sourced, the car park is ubiquitous, the soundtrack a mash-up of popular culture. There is nothing new here, we are going round and round in a dazed spin of contemporary normality. Yet as we get higher, the suspense builds, faster and denser, gaining a sense of a quest as we ascend the levels. But it is the glitches that are taking over. Pericich as trickster summons out the unseen forces and it is futile to resist. If this followed the rule of Thrillers the suspense would promise to reveal something that would make it all make sense but this is more akin to watching a never-ending Newsfeed, only in reverse.
The beauty of this sorcery is not just about revealing the Dorian Gray mirror of cultures’? monstrous soul, but that Simon invites this monster out, gives it a hug and says “its ok, you can come play with us.”
– Talitha Kennedy
CROWD sorcering, 2014
3 channel digital video
edition of 5 and 2AP
Main samples used:
Youtube™: Five Finger Death Punch, Rock on The Range 2012
Someone Like You, Adele.
Wrecking Ball, Miley Cyrus.
Counterfeit Deity, Vengeful.
Feild recordings from a hole drilled 14.4 kilometers into the earths crust by a Finnish geological group.*(sic)
This video would have been impossible without the help of…
Runner/rigger: Leanne Waterhouse
Editing support: Brie Trenerry
Audio engineer: Geordie Miller