Mark Van de Walle

  • The X-Files

    The truth is out there. . . .

    THERE’S ALWAYS PLENTY to fear. In fact, as the millennium winds down, it’s getting to the point where you’re crazy not to be paranoid. There’s all the usual stuff to worry about, just like usual—death, famine, war, crime, disease, heartbreak, sorrow, grief, the ordinary, endless litany of average human fears. But these are more complicated times. Now you can also fear (and with perfectly good reason, too): biological weapons and nerve gas in the subways, terrorist bombings in your office building, the AIDS virus the Ebola virus the flesh-eating streptococcus bacilli

  • Robert Harrison

    You catch a strange air of nostalgia from Robert Harrison’s photographs, as though you were seeing a dream someone else had but couldn’t quite remember, and Harrison was trying to remember it for them, for you. It’s as if he were trying to pinpoint all the moments where things might have gone wrong—all the instants of lost time—and capture them forever.

    Looking at this work is like sitting in a darkened room. The room is silent, mostly, except for the sounds of fabric rustling, and breathing, and people shifting their weight to one side or another. It is a sound like a large animal, sleeping,

  • Kiki Smith

    You were there, Saturday evenings spent at home, watching the dark parade of monsters and mutants. And if Kiki Smith’s recent show is any indication, she was, too. Count Floyd, queso as ever—fake fangs, fake hair, fake accent, fake everything—telling you about tonight’s Creature Feature, Island of the Mushroom People. Even more queso than the Count. Seems impossible, but it’s true. A crew of Japanese scientists gets shipwrecked on an island inhabited by walking, sentient mushrooms. If they touch you, you turn into a mushroom person, too—but slowly, by inches, fungus sprouting out here and there,

  • TV


    Shoe First, Ask Questions Later
    The screen is on, it’s flickering, making a blur of static. It’s watching. Nixon dreamed of this: a TV that would watch you while you were watching it, and even when you had turned it off. It’s not clear whether or not he achieved this dream; they say not, but who knows? William Burroughs knows. Because now the static is cleared, and a screen falls out of the sky, and Burroughs is there, inside the box inside the box. He is watching you watching him. Now listen: Burroughs is talking.

    He says, “Technology exists to free the body, not to enslave the

  • Pavement

    Chaque époque rêve la suivante . . . consciousness or unconsciousness cannot simply depict it as a dream, but responds to it in equal measure with desire and fear.
    —Theodor Adorno, letter to Walter Benjamin, 1935, in Aesthetics and Politics

    Out on tour with Smashing Pumpkins/Nature kids, they don’t have a function/I don’t get what they mean/And I could really give a fuck./Stone Temple Pilots, they’re elegant bachelors/They’re foxy to me/are they foxy to you. . . .
    —Pavement, “Range Life,” on Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, 1994

    THE ERA IN QUESTION IS MERELY a moment after all—1994, months after

  • Wes Mills

    What does desire, incessant, unclear and unanswerable, look like? This, as much as anything else, is what Wes Mills’ work is all about: it’s a kind of cartography of desire. According to a Lacanian diagram, the drive sweeps in past the margins of an erogenous zone, and then back out again; the drawing looks, variously, like a nipple, a pacifier, a vagina, a phallus, a mound. Desire is the empty place, the hollow in the middle of all these things—desire is the thing that never gets (ful)filled. We never get what we really want, so we always go back for more, circling endlessly around the trauma

  • David Ireland

    There’s a segment on the Ren and Stimpy show—a commercial for a toy called “Log.” It’s a log. The commercial tells you about all the fabulous possibilities for fun with a chunk of wood, i.e. you can dress it up in various costumes (cheerleader log! jock log! Civil War log!), you can throw it down the stairs, or at your sibling. The whole thing comes complete with a jingle: It’s Log, it’s Log, it’s Log, it’s better than bad, it’s good." It’s this particular mixture of smart stupidity and nostalgia that’s right at the heart of David Ireland’s installation.

    In part, this is because most of the work