ghost town (Mediagallery Exhibition)
|When:||Saturday, 5 May 2012|
|Where:||The Film Archive, Wellington|
In Mike Heynes' ghost town we are led through an empty city by a point of view camera, we are confused by the scale, and - with the suspension of disbelief - we are again confused by the lack of cultural references, the lack of people, gardens, signs of life and consumer society. Is this a town that has been devastated by economic downturn? With a ubiquitous uncapitalised name, and buildings made out of kitset models purchased off Trade Me and Ebay, ghost town is anonymous. The film loops and the buildings are rearranged off-screen to give us a sense of deja vu. What should be familiar, isn't.
Within this anonymous world we are unable to locate ourselves. If it is a ghost town, what is left after we have abandoned it? Or is our point of view more spectral? Are we the ghosts? We are at the very least, tourists: displaced; having strayed from the map; viewing our surroundings with a wary eye.
Heynes' earlier work has been an examination of both movie making, an exploration of genre and special effects, and of the human condition. His grotesque stages of recycled models and toys, caricature the ugliness of our capitalist world: using the very dolls that encourage little girls to grow up and support a $40 million plastic surgery industry; dolls produced using slave labour in Third World countries; dolls that obstinately refuse to biodegrade, or deposit bisphenol A into our oceans when they do. Heynes' toys are toxic. ghost town is a move away from these characters. And with this shift, place dominates. Like the long corridors in Gus Van Sant's film 'Elephant' or the cityscapes of computer games, this place has taken on a mysterious character of its own.
It is the correlation between place and perspective that holds the tension for me in this work. Heynes has succeeded in placing us in a post capitalist void that we no longer know how to relate to. A future where the town as we know it has vanished. Perhaps the popularity of online shopping or the development of super malls has driven people off the streets. Perhaps it is a post consumer world, and we have otherwise reverted to the country. Whatever the reason, Mike Heynes' ghost town is uncanny.
Mike Heynes is represented by CIRCUIT Artist Film and Video Aotearoa New Zealand.