About Last Night: 'Interstice' Turned The Milk Gallery into a Dark Labyrinth
Last night, the Milk Gallery took a page from The Shining, turning down the lights for a winding labyrinth of veils, pendulums, and bone-breaking dancers. It was all from LA-based artist and Legs Media director Andrew Thomas Huang, who displayed his long-awaited art film Interstice. Drawing on Chinese lion dances and the Dance of the Seven Veils from Oscar Wilde’s 1891 play Salome, the film interrogates orientalization and culture through a subversive veil and occultish dance. A fractured display of the video sent crowds wandering through room after room to see each scene play out, which was exactly what he wanted. “I think because the whole film is a series of chapters, it was important that everyone move one chapter at a time, or one veil at a time,” he explained. “Then again, it’s kind of like passing through different repeated barriers. I just really believe that every good exhibit is like a Disneyland ride.”
If Disneyland had a swinging pendulum ready to take out unsuspecting patrons, this would be it. Alongside video projections from the film and the hypnotic pendulum, a discarded veil in the first room introduced viewers to the ritualistic world that Andrew created with the help of his diverse team of collaborators. While the crowd watched masked dancers bent in bone-breaking contortions manipulate a rich red veil, bright white light filled a connected gallery space displaying Andrew’s digital prints. The juxtaposition of the gallery with his winding video installation beyond the veil created a distinct sense of unease that elevated the work and forced the audience that had gathered to grapple with the projections flashing onscreen.
“I just want people to feel like they’re walking into a big, confrontational, transformed space,” he said as light from a nearby screen lit the cavernous room. “I feel like we live in a really anxiety-filled time, and I want people to feel anxious! Kind of afraid and seduced, and also woken up.”
If the video display didn’t alert our senses enough, we were certainly jolted awake when Andrew’s longtime collaborator Björk brushed past us in a white lace facemask. She joined a crowd of faces winding through the maze that included three of the Flex dancers from the film, Brix, Bones, and Slicc; Interstice choreographer Jason Akira Somma; designers threeASFOUR, who contributed costumes; and Serpentwithfeet. There was real magic in the air–especially when you throw in the delicious custom incense designed by artist Stephen Dirkes. Between the cavernous labyrinth and and bone-breaking visuals, this was an unforgettable opening to Huang’s newest vision.
Interstice: An Installation by Andrew Thomas Huang will be on display from March 2 to April 3 in the Milk Gallery. More information can be found here. Pieces from the show are now available at the Milk Store.
Images shot exclusively for Milk by Zlatko Batistich.