Jeremy Shaw

01-jeremyshaw_quickeners_2014

Jeremy Shaw
Quickeners, 2014
HD video installation with original soundtrack
Courtesy KÖNIG GALERIE
37:05

Set 500 years in the future, Quickeners tells the story of Human Atavism Syndrome (H.A.S.), an obscure disorder afflicting a tiny portion of the Quantum Human population, making them desire and feel as their Human Being predecessors once did. A species wirelessly interconnected to The Hive, Quantum Humans have evolved to operate solely on pure rational thought and they have achieved immortality. Quickeners is set against a cinéma vérité aesthetic, reworking archival documentary footage from a gathering of Pentecostal Christian snake handlers to illustrate the story. As the film unfolds, an authoritative Quantum Human narrator comments on what we witness: indecipherable testimonials, sermons, songs, prayers, convulsive dancing, speaking-in-tongues, serpent handling and ecstatic states that Quantum Humans define as “Quickening.”

Incorporating elements of science fiction, ethnographic survey, neuroscience and belief systems, Quickeners collates these disparate themes into a succinct whole to discuss varying notions of evolutionary progress with clinical indifference. This alchemical fusion suspends disbelief of the fantastic situation by its use of familiar, outmoded technology, meticulous audio editing and subtitles. As the work builds to a cathartic climax of media techniques and special effects─caught in limbo between ritual documentary and music video─the Quantum Humans surrender to this evolutionary throwback of perceived biological transcendence, while the film attempts to incite a similar phenomenological response in the viewer.

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