They stood so still that she quite forgot they were alive, and she was just looking round to see if the word "TWEEDLE" was written at the back of each collar, when she was startled by a voice coming from the one marked "DUM."
"If you think we're wax-works," he said, "you ought to pay, you know. Wax-works weren't made to be looked at for nothing, nohow!"
"Contrariwise," added the one marked "DEE," "if you think we're alive, you ought to speak."
– Through the Looking-Glass, Lewis Carroll
Welcome to HYPER SHOW. We know the bright fluorescent lighting might suggest otherwise, but we’re really happy you’re here. There’s beer and tequila upstairs, which may serve to alleviate those nagging feelings of alienation and social anxiety you’re experiencing right now. By the end of the evening, we bet you’ll feel right at home here. Oh look, there’s a friend of yours. No, we don’t mind. We’ll be here.
Ok, now let’s get you situated. We know these events can be overwhelming sometimes. You are standing in YAUTEPEC--yes, we’re aware of the town in Morelos. No, we’ve never been there. You are not there now. If you look up and around, you’ll see an exhibition by the Mexican artist, Misael Torres. It features photographs and sculpture related to the experience of simulated reality. You are currently experiencing this experience of simulated reality inside a white-cube-style art gallery, which sits alongside an active highway in a low-rent neighborhood. The irony of this may have struck you already.
The space next door is available if you have an interest in changing the reality of this city block any further. It was a credit agency up until a crisis based on artificial abstractions of real value made credit a difficult business. The art gallery in which you now stand used to be a car stereo shop. Crudely hand-painted logos representing companies like Boston Acoustics and Pioneer are still here behind the fake walls. The large building across the street was Luz y Fuerza. In some years, it will probably be a corporate-sponsored monument to the triumph of privatization in Mexico. There’s also a cantina two doors down, which is full of paintings of matadors. It was never a bullfighting ring. (We will, however, be bullshitting there afterward.)
But we digress--now, back to HYPER SHOW. You’ll find here works that are or are not what they seem. For instance, take a look at the piece REAL. Because it’s bronze, it will likely continue to be real longer than you or anyone else here--perhaps longer than humanity itself, at which point the concept of real will no longer be real.
On the other hand, we have a sculpture called Jack-in-a-Box. The “jackalope” is a completely imaginary creature--a jackrabbit with the horns of an antelope--yet the Douglas Chamber of Commerce in the US state of Wyoming issues official Jackalope Hunting Licenses to tourists, good only for June 31st (a day which, in fact, is not real either).
You’ll also find a series of nature photographs. They’re half-real. Artificial plants--and artificial images of plants--sit side-by-side with natural plants, illuminated by a blend of artificial and natural light, populated by artificial and natural fauna.
Look around further and you’ll also find a series of photos in which people themselves become realizations of artificiality, walking emblems of fantasies or idealizations of our own creation. A tightly posed family of stereotypical Asian tourists (with matching Nike caps) grins ecstatically in front of Chicago’s famous mirrored jellybean, while a young girl dressed in Disney’s officially licensed “Birthday Princess” costume returns to rule her Magic Kingdom, attendant mother (queen?) at hand.
Whoops, someone just spilled a drink. Well, while we attend to the mess, we hope you’ll continue to reflect on just how effectively simulation provokes your consumerist impulses by manipulating your most basic emotions and desires.
... And yes, that work is for sale.