(W)e are most queasy when we are reminded, forcibly, of our selfness, of the fact that we are these subjects, wandering around, being watched. — Clint Burnham
One enters Alex Mackenzie’s Somber, passing underneath a surveillance camera that monitors the movement of viewers in and out of the gallery. An exact replica of a porno booth (contrasting the porno booths’ usual location and grouping), sits askew towards the center of the room. Behind it, hazy reddish projections pulsate fleshy forms.
One progresses toward the booth noticing a stack of VHS tapes to the left. Analogous to video store tapes with characteristically small generic labels, they suggest amateur or low budget productions. Rather than identifying the title of a movie, the label of these cassettes identify a date (day, month, year). The stack is ordered chronologically: the oldest date (marking the opening of the exhibit) on the bottom, the top cassette dated the day before. Available for scrutiny, this pile invites the viewer to take them into the booth, close the door and plug them in for viewing.