What do two Disney scenes have to do with Photoshoping missiles being fired? Or, for that matter, with a clearly computer-generated chair design and a white porcelain sculpture of a curiously bedecked man’s head? Ostensibly nothing, and I think that remains the case even after viewing Austrian artist Oliver Laric’s video Versions at the Hirschhorn Museum in Washington D. C. several times. The linking thread in the chain of images in Versions is the accompanying female voice. In doing so, the artist makes the point that the linking thread of many contemporary cultural products in the remix culture of today are works of just such an amalgamated sourcing.
With the utmost professionalism and authority, the voice expounds on the philosophy of images, image-making today, and copies through such examples. Perhaps surprisingly, such a theoretical topic does not become boring, and if heavy-handed, pointedly so. Just as the images are created and remixed to tell this story, the words are also largely a remix. Taking from both high and low culture, Laric quotes from Borges but also James Brown, thus mimicking the same questions of authenticity and originality that he is tackling.
To quote the video: “It’s the real thing. Hybridize, or disappear.” On view at the Hirschhorn through October 5. More information available here.