Tigers, Balls


Salvador Dali & David Lynch once collaborated on a fashion shoot, trying to make the world’s most expensive perfume commercial – for a fragrance rubbed under the balls. They never finished the project though, so the highpoint of testicle art in the twenty century is still attributed to artist Matthew Barney & his ‘Cremaster Cycle’ films ( More on that later ). Avoiding reproductive organs altogether ( none exist ), Austrian artist Robert Jelinek is hoping to reconstruct the pheromone scent of the long extinct Tasmanian Tiger and use this as a territorial fence of sorts for Tasmanian farmers. Presumably there’s also a future with it as a perfume additive.

Grappling with Biology
Humans have always lusted after immortality, but perhaps in less embarrassing ways. Google ‘extropians’ online and you’ll find a mostly Californian bunch of techno_evangelists, who want to transcend biology, and seriously expect to be uploading their consciousness to a hard drive within their lifetime. On the flipside, this week’s artists embrace rather than abandon biology – Matthew Barney uses technology to explore the biological mystery and complexity of testicles, & Robert Jelinek who aims to recreate the scent of a Tasmanian tiger.

Matthew Barney’s Gonads
Email me if I’m wrong, but slang for male genitalia seems to vastly outnumber that for female genitalia. ‘Gonads’ is one of my favourites for testicles, but presumably Matthew Barney has a vast library of ball-names, given he’s devoted nearly a decade of his life to a series of conceptual films about the rising and falling of testicles. We’re talking full-bodied epic art-house pieces here, that smell of the sort of funding it might take to travel to the moon, or at the least – conduct a mini-war on terrorism. Somewhere in the American arts hierarchy, somebody loves this guy’s balls.

The Cremaster Cycle Crash Course: Parts 1-5
Screening shortly in Sydney & Melbourne, here’s some of what to expect.
– Lots of Vaseline ( Barney fancies this as a sculpting medium ).
– A car crushed into an actual set of dentures.
– A drum solo by Dave Lombardo (ex-Slayer) accompanied by droning bees.
– Barney appearing himself, as alternately – serial killer, Diva, Magician, Giant, tap-dancing fool etc.
– the erection of New York’s Chrysler building.
– elevator cables used as a harp.
– A woman in a blimp feeding grapes through tubes to dance formations in the stadium beneath her
– Poseidon the sea god with a flock of doves attached to his scrotum by silk ribbons Etc

Clearly then, puppetry of the penis, this is not. And for the record – the ‘Cremaster Cycle’ refers to the cremaster muscle which controls the rise and fall of testicles in response to ‘external stimuli’. Boggle more @ www.cremaster.net

Feb 8 @ ACMI, marathon 35mm print screening of all five parts, back to back. Solo sessions later.


Saturday 6 & 20 March 2004
10.30am – 12.30pm Cremaster 1 & 2
1.30pm – 4.30pm Cremaster 3
5.00pm – 7.00pm Cremaster 4 & 5

Phantom Smells
Also fascinated with the reproductive process, albeit trying to artificially recreate it, scientists from the Australian Museum in Sydney have long been hatching plans to resurrect the extinct Tasmanian tiger, and to resettle it in the wild in 2010. More recently in this doggedly ambitious project, Austrian Robert Jelinek has been working with them to synthetically reproduce the bodily scent (pheromone) of
Australia’s missing carnivorous marsupial, the Tassie tiger.

Already a scent has been tested during a three-week artist visit in December 2002. Yellow ‘air fresheners’ spiked with the scent served as ‘bait’ and were hung on low-lying tree limbs and shrubs. The animals observed (wombats, kangaroos, foxes, sheep and rabbits) reacted to the scent as if the surrounding territory had been claimed by the Tasmanian tiger and avoided the area. Eventually the artist hopes the scent could be utilized in large quantities as a spray to establish invisible scent fences, helping farmers to secure their lands against constant fox and rabbit plagues without resorting to barbed wire and poisonous substances.

Scratch N Sniff: www.sabotage.at/News/tiger.html

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