We're tantalized by the latest details on The Empire Never Ended, iMOCA's group show inspired by Philip K. Dick's VALIS and featuring Brooklyn psych band/performance artist Prince Rama and two Dutch artists, Marc Bijl and Serge Onnen. We'll have plenty more before its Feb. 7 opening, including interviews with the artists, but here's the press release from iMOCA for now.
P.S. Note that February is a good month for fans of 20th-century subversive science fiction: The Burroughs Century, a five-day consideration/celebration of all things William S. Burroughs, is coming up Feb. 5-9 in Bloomington. It's pretty remarkable in its scope, from an art show at the Grunwald to an exhibit of his correspondence and manuscripts at the Lilly Library, from a film festival at the IU Cinema including a bunch of rarely screened films (notably a newly restored documentary, Burroughs: The Movie) to performances in town by Lydia Lunch and Negativland's Mark Hosler.
P.P.S. I just noticed this exchanged in our 2012 interview with Prince Rama that certainly pertains.
NUVO: You've recently been commissioned to contribute music to the exhibit "The Empire Never Ended." How did this come about and are you or your sister fans of Philip K. Dick?
Prince Rama's Taraka Larson: Good question. Shauta from IMOCA just emailed us out of the blue and we couldn't be more thrilled by the concept. It was pretty coincidental really, because she was talking about an exhibit dealing with Philip K. Dick, simulated utopias and imaginary apocalypses and meanwhile we were living on a simulated utopian commune off the coast of Estonia mixing Top Ten Hits of The End of the World. To top it off, me and Philip K. Dick share a birthday, December 16th, which also happens to be the day we're playing.
Indianapolis - Author Philip K Dick, known for his darkly comic novels of strange drugs, androids, and pseudo realities, had a series of visions, hallucinations and dreams starting 2/3/1974 that led to him writing the several books, namely the book VALIS.
It's been forty years since Dick's experience and on 2/7/2014 from 6-11 p.m. iMOCA will open The Empire Never Ended, an exhibited inspired by VALIS, with artists Prince Rama, Marc Bijl and Serge Onnen. It will run through April 12th.
Dick was well aware of the nuttiness of 2-3-74, and when he turned to the problem of narrating the event in VALIS, he split himself into two characters: the narrator, a sober science-fiction writer named Phil Dick, and a mad visionary named Horselover Fat. The book itself is a hybrid, a melange of autobiography and fantasy that's laced with an encyclopedic range of philosophical and religious information: citations from the I Ching, Henry Vaughan, Heraclitus, Wagner, Xenophanes, the Bible, Pascal, and, of course, the science-fiction writer Philip K. Dick. The hope is that this exhibit helps introduce a new generation to his work, and the inspiration it brings.
Prince Rama's portion of The Empire Never Ended, is centered around character Horselover Fat envisions the suspension of history in the 1st century A.D. with the landscape of southern California 1974 being superimposed as a holographic projection over Ancient Rome, hence "the Empire never ended". For Prince Rama's installation, they will flip the script and envision the suspension of history in modern-day southern California with Ancient Rome employed as a simulated projection of wealth, ersatz-spirituality, and aesthetic decadence. "In our version, says Taraka Larson, "the Empire never ended" is more of a comment on the past's devolution into kitsch and subsequent haunting of the present in the form of Ghost-Modernism and Zombie Aesthetics. They will also screen their movie, NEVER FOREVER. (screen still below)
Museum memebers are advised to bring a swimsuit if they so desire, they have the option of changing out of their everyday clothes into provided, borrowed robes so that they may be able to fully partake in the various interactive parts of the exhibit, namely the use of a Royal Spa hot tub.
Dutch artist Serge Onnen's piece created a large scale illustration and kaleidoscope. "When I started thinking about the book," says Onnen. "All these different ideas and cultural phenomena's existing next to each other, from psychedelic to gnostics. When working on the drawing I realized the book read very well in an I ching kind of way. Opening a page and looking for inspiration to fit inside my spaces."
Dutch artist Marc Bijl will offer Indianapolis sculpture, PORN . He considers it a label for the spirit of the time, for the perversity of the current political and social processes, for the insistent, penetrating nature of fanatic messages that Philip K Dick battled himself.
Special thanks to Erik Davis of Techgnosis.com and Royal Spa of Indianapolis
The exhibits will run with iMOCA's new hours of Tuesday-Wednesday 4-8 p.m. and Thursday-Saturday 1-8 p.m.