New York-based, Australian video artist TV Moore returns to home soil to present his first major Melbourne solo show at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art. With Love & Squalor continues the artist’s critical commentary of technology, using warped techniques across video, animation and sound to mess with the senses. Always the cultural hoarder, TV’s latest show sees a characteristic meeting of high and low culture: from a French Salon hung with digital paintings to a Looney Tunes-style animation where Porky Pig is replaced with Picasso. We caught up with the artist ahead of the show, which opens Saturday.
The Creators Project: One of the works in With Love & Squalor is a 3D animation of Vin Diesel crying. What’s that all about?
TV Moore: He YouTubed this video a year or so ago where he was on ecstasy or something, and it’s this delicate moment where he chose to film himself dancing, awkwardly and drunk. Instead of private he went public—he doesn’t care—and it was a vulnerable, beautiful thing. I thought that he was such a perfect mask for this broader idea of public-private vulnerability. It’s no bullshit; he’s perfect! We remodeled him as an animation called ‘Vin-ish,' so it’s a version of him.
We often have this feeling that technology is cold and hard, not emotional...
Yeah right, and it can be, but it’s also so personal because people are on it all the time, even in public . This show is speaking to the fact that technology can be private and public at the same time, and vulnerable and sweet and soft and weird. I think it’s an interesting place that we’re at.
Are you trying to tweak the senses with this show?
Yeah! It’s all craft. Some of the animations can be looked at as sculptures. It just depends on how you look at it, and what it is. You know, the show is just a Sims cartoon really, as a space. It’s fun to do.
So everyone’s like a Sim?
We’re all Sims, dude.
You can do anything with those guys!
And it can be really fucked up! You’re trying to create new families and there’s psychological stuff at play there as well, but also it’s [a product of] imagination and that’s a beautiful thing. I think art sometimes loses the fact that it is visual art, and imagination and intuition is a huge part of it. There is a discourse and all that is important, but imagination is the game changer. But The Sims is a wild thing. Also the time [that disappears while playing]—it’s like a casino. You’re in there for 40 hours! Plus people are murdering each other.
I was actually just reading about what some people do to their Sims. It’s really evil shit.
The programmers are trying to build a defense system, but you can murder each other. The human psyche doesn’t take very long to go there. This show isn’t about that, but it’s like... this is more Play-Doh of the imagination.
As well as video and sound works, you’ve got some digital paintings in this show too. ‘Digital paintings’ sound like a bit of a contradiction. How do they work?
I’m too hyperactive to be a European-style oil painter; I can’t wait for that stuff to dry. So I’ll start exactly that process and then I’ll use NASA scanning technology, and it comes back from the lab into my computer. Then it’s another painting process again.
With Love & Squalor is huge show that takes up a huge space. Do you enjoy the install process?
I enjoy the moment where the brain—three years ago—decides what it [the show] is and then the day where it’s finished and that’s it! There’s literally the five minutes of looking at it and then—it’s not dead to me, but it’s moving onto the next thing... You’re only as good as the last show you’re working on, and it’s ongoing. I’m like a shark; I keep going forward.
With Love & Squalor is part of ACCA’s annual Influential Australian Artist program and runs from August 15 to September 27. For more information about the exhibition head here. Check out TV Moore’s website here.