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L7 - L5
Installation
Dimensions: Variables dimensions
Reference: ACF0555
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A fascinating insight into the impact that technologies have on creating individual and group identities, L7-L5 (1984) was Tony Oursler’s first immersive video installation. Spectators enter a stage space shaped by moving images and sound inspired by the world of science fiction, passing through peaks of intensity created by hybrid devices acting as complementary chapters within the same story. Oursler’s approach to this genre eschews the usual Hollywood clichés in favour of a disturbing narrative that plays with the assumed reality of extraterrestrial life. This installation centres on the structure of a green house with broken windows. In the video projected onto the broken glass, Gloria—whom Oursler found by taking out an ad in Village Voice magazine offering to pay for first-hand accounts of UFO sightings or contacts with extraterrestrials—tells us about her experience with two aliens. Gloria’s apparent psychic disorder adds a powerful documentary perspective, stressing the artist’s rejection of the uniform treatment aliens are given in Hollywood movies. As part of its expansive, fragmented account, L7-L5 also includes other items from videogames, including a fight between green and flesh-coloured little figures, children playing with laser guns—parodying the needless yet all too common infantilisation of science fiction—and a set of flimsy cardboard buildings with twinkling stars on the side that appear to receive intermittent messages. The enigmatic title of the piece combines a colloquial American expression—L7, slang for calling someone square—and the name of the point at which an object can maintain the same relative position with respect to the Earth-Moon system: L5.

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