What makes a place scary? In our next ARTLab we’ll be taking inspiration from Nicola Kuperus and Adam Lee Miller’s Diptyching and create our own scary and usettling spaces. ArtLab is free with your museum admission, and we encourage all to participate… IF YOU DARE.
Since 1997, Kuperus and Miller have been recording and performing music videos under the band name ADULT., often performing a live soundtrack alongside their films. For their work at the Mattress Factory, their process started first with composing the music. Much of the inspiration for the installation came directly from Pittsburgh: the artists recognize Pittsburgh as a place with some of the best haunted houses, the façade design is taken from a house the artists saw in Troy Hill during their stay in Pittsburgh, and the horror effects in the video are a nod to the work of George Romero, famous for filming such cult horror classics as Dawn of the Dead in the greater Pittsburgh area. The artists used techniques from Tom Savini’s book Grand Illusions for the horror effects seen in their video. The artists wanted to create a piece that embraced the two poles of ridiculousness and seriousness, comedy and tragedy.
As a result, Diptyching is a space that elicits multiple contrasting feelings. It is welcoming and familiar yet foreboding and unsettling. The motion-sensor spotlights may feel accusatory when they snap on as you walk up close. The pristine tudor-style façade is almost too perfect in contrast to the screams and construction sounds coming from inside. When you walk in, the door slams and locks behind you, corralling you and forcing you to walk through the space. The video embraces comedy and tragedy much like a cartoon; the construction worker characters bumble into construction mishaps, including bloody maimings, but the characters always reappear for the next bit, including the oldest joke in the book: the dangers of the misplaced banana peel. Depending on your constitution, you may find what you see hilarious, or you may find it gross or uncomfortable.
So what makes a place creepy for you? Why do we like to be scared? Come to the Mattress Factory and experiment with other visitors on October 19th!
And keep an eye on the calendar - there’s going to be a spooky movie and live musical performance by the artists on October 31st! There will be more details posted here soon!