Whether or not ghosts exist, it doesn’t stop amateur filmmakers from making hundreds of fake poltergeist videos to clutter up YouTube. Try making one for yourself—set up a camera, then take some fishing line and tie it to a coffee cup, get out of sight, tug it, and there you have it: a haunted kitchen.
These bogus paranormal efforts are what artist and director Meredith Danluck took as inspiration for her commissioned installation at the Venice Biennale. By creating an artificial poltergeist scene, she wanted to reappropriate the filmic language used by these faux-supernatural vids and take it on a circular journey back from whence it came—Hollywood. This was achieved by creating what she calls a “Spielberg-style YouTube video.”
Her work usually addresses the complex issue of American identity, taking iconic imagery like the Marlboro Man and playing with the shared mythology that surrounds it—addressing Hollywood, the Deep South, urban playgrounds and other elements that populate the US identity.
Here she discusses how her team created the spooky scene for her Venice Biennale installation from the essential ingredients of cardboard, Scotch tape, and air cannons.