Constant World

Jan. 8, 2009 - Feb. 5, 2009

Beall Center for Art and Technology

Known for their intricate and intimate dioramas featuring small spy cameras that project scenes onto walls, monitors, or screens, the McCoys explore a wide range of topics, ranging from the personal to the political. The exhibition demonstrates their continuing interest in sculpture, cinema and technology, and features the U.S. premiere of Constant World, a major work commissioned by the British Film Institute, as well as a survey of recent works.


Works Shown

The Constant World

2007, Sculptural video installation with flat-screen display

The Constant World, with its incorporation of thirty-six live video cameras, presents a utopian world that acts as its own advertisement. This installation is a large interconnected series of ceiling mounted metal spheres, models, and lights. It portrays a film noir melodrama set in an urban environment that is intercut with text elements. The result, seen on flat screen displays, beckons the viewers to inhabit the place seen onscreen. Drawing from influences as varied as Constant Nieuwenhuis’s models for the utopian New Babylon and the dystopian technological noir of Jean-Luc Godard’s Alphaville, the project forms a critique of labels. Specifically it questions the ways in which our culture uses language to falsely assign value.

Double Fantasy 3 (career)

2006, Sculptural video installation with projection.

The artists are portrayed as young people in a miniature tableau which reconstructs an early experience in which a future career experience was imagined. The sculpture consists of a vertically-oriented platform mounted on a floor-based stand. Miniature elements, lighting and cameras are mounted on either side of the platform. The live video cameras capture shots of the tableau, which are sequenced by computer into an endlessly looping live video, projected as part of the installation.

Traffic #1: Our Second Date

2004, Installation with video projection

Each of these tabletop miniature kinetic sculptures involves two linked narratives. In Second Date, one harrative is a small-scale recreation of a scene from the film Week End by Jean Luc Godard. The other is a tableau portraying the artists themselves in the act of watching the film on a small- screen: a live video feed of the cinematic recreation appears on their screen. In the gallery space, a video sequence cuts back and forth between images of the artists in their viewing environment and images of the film scene they are watching. All of the films involve car culture and its portrayal in cinema.

Big Box

2007, Sculptural video installation with video display

In the two Big Box sculptures, models of an American-style big box shopping mall are placed on a slowly rotating turntable. The clean, nearly featureless buildings facades have been modified. In one reality, a trash-filled wasteland, and in another an over-grown jungle. In the wasteland, zombies have made advances. In the jungle, the mall has been converted to a biosphere. A single camera films the scene, presenting it as a drive-by view on wall mounted monitors.

The High Seas

2007, Sculptural kinetic video installation with projection.

A video camera and light circle a stationary boat model, moving up and down along a wave guide as they move. The projected image creates an illusion of the ship tossing and pitching on stormy seas.

Traffic #2: At Home

2004, Installation with video projection

Each of these tabletop miniature kinetic sculptures involves two linked narratives. In At Home, the film reference is Sugarland Express by Steven Spielberg. The other is a tableau portraying the artists themselves in the act of watching the film at home on a small television- a live video feed of the cinematic recreation appears on their screen. In the gallery space, a video sequence cuts back and forth between images of the artists in their viewing environment and images of the film scene they are watching. The soundtrack is taken from the original film sequence.

Traffic #4: At the Bar

2004, Installation with video projection

Each of these tabletop miniature kinetic sculptures involves two linked narratives. In At the Bar, a small-scale recreation of Bonnie and Clyde is portrayed. The other is a tableau portraying the artists themselves in the act of watching the film on a small- screen at a bar: a live video feed of the cinematic recreation appears on their screen. In the gallery space, a video sequence cuts back and forth between images of the artists in their viewing environment and images of the film scene they are watching.

Traffic #3: In the Cardiac Ward

2004, Installation with video projection

Each of these tabletop miniature kinetic sculptures involves two linked narratives. In this one a small-scale recreation of Lucas's American Grafitti is depicted. The other is a tableau portraying the artists themselves in the act of watching the film on a hospital video monitor- a live video feed of the cinematic recreation appears on this screen. In the gallery space, a video sequence cuts back and forth between images of the artists in their viewing environment and images of the film scene they are watching.

Soft Rains #6: Suburban Horror

2003, Installation with video projection

Soft Rains consists of multiple platforms. Each platform represents a familiar cinematic archetype or genre rendered in miniature (60s Arthouse, 70s horror etc). The miniature ‘heroine’ of the work, clad in a distinctive red dress, is pictured in each of the sets. The live feed from each video camera is connected to a computer-based video sequencer, which switches from one camera to another to create an edited sequence appearing as a large scale projection. Suburban Horror uses images inspired by David Lynch's film Blue Velvet and by John Carpenter's Friday the 13th.