los-angeles

Terry Chatkupt, Transferase, 2010, still from a single-channel HD video, 9 minutes 17 seconds.

Terry Chatkupt

Laxart

Terry Chatkupt, Transferase, 2010, still from a single-channel HD video, 9 minutes 17 seconds.

How about “A guy walks into a diner . . .” or “A guy gets a phone call . . .”? Either mundane opener—which in a joke would set up a punch line, which would achieve humor by creating an unexpected turn in the narrative course—could have articulated an action in the script for Terry Chatkupt’s new video short Transferase, 2010. Part psychodrama, part nail-biting suspense flick, the nine-minute digital video is also a comedy, deriving its dramatic tension from the split perception of its lone, anonymous protagonist and the degree to which he alters the experiences of the people around him.

As the piece begins, we are shown a smog-filtered sunny afternoon in LA (just like any other in that city), but as shot by Chatkupt, the skyline appears vast, looming as if it were revealing some supernatural disturbance. On a street lined with backlit palm trees (another LA classic) and

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