What If? In the Days
When the Tiger Smoked

Torsten Zenas Burns & Darrin Martin

Project Statement

What-If? In the Days When the Tiger Smoked is the culmination of an ongoing project which began in Busan, South Korea in 2006. At the heart of the work is the unfolding of a role-playing workshop where participants reenact dates leading up to a fictional polyamorous romance. The performance, played by a rotating international cast of artists, leads to a group wedding and honeymoon between characters based upon two obscure Marvel superheroes and two internationally renowned art personalities. The happy foursome are Orlan, an artist whose actual redefinition of her own image confronts representations of woman throughout art history; Stelarc, an artist whose cybernetic mission in life is to render the body obsolete; the Scarlet Witch, a mutant superhero who has unlimited powers over probability, and the Vision, a “synthezoid” superhero whose mechanically fabricated body contains a human soul. What If? unfolds the entangled story that brought this romantic foursome together spanning the gulf between genders and representations; the body and technology.

Named after the Korean saying for “Once Upon a Time,” our project at Krowswork gallery premieres In the Days When the Tiger Smoked, a special gallery rendition that fuses together our two single-channel video works from 2009. New works from our polyamorous databank of speculative fiction include a series of video loops. Honeymoon Valley is an ambient exploration of both historic and contemporary South Korean sites and reengages with the terrain where our characters first met and later honeymooned. Wundagore Spa enacts a Proxy-Orlan character’s simulated operation with sticky and reckless abandon. Animatron Love revisits variations on the choreography performed by our characters’ virtual avatars contextualized into a series of alternate worlds.

Print works derived from collaged photographs and video stills explore another form of storytelling through ambiguous hieroglyphic forms and re-imagined portraiture. The exhibition will also include a set of sculptural miniatures mixing our characters’ visceral avatars into solidified form. The evening of the opening Burns and Martin will present a screening of influential media-gems found on the internet and otherwise. The videos will range from superhero fan memes to android realizations to gender fuck performance antics.