The New York-Based artist Oursler is known for his immersive experiences incorporating both ancient and modern technologies, working with painting, sculpture, installation, performance, and video. His pioneering use of new media examines the effect of technology on the mind, and is known for its use of irony and humor.
Oursler is the month-long focus of an exhibition at the presented series. Oursler’s piece, “space men r My friended” (2016), immerses the viewer in a narrative of a false memory, exploring UFOs and aliens through the perspective of George Adamski. The work allows the viewer to delve into the mind and memory of Adamski, a widely discredited “contactee” who, in the 1940s and 50s, claimed to have been the first person to have interacted with aliens and to have visited other planets. The piece presents Adamski’s story and the vast research archives of both Oursler and Adamski.
Exploring the origins of UFO photography, “space men R My friended” recalls Oursler’s film “Imponderable” (2015-16), an immersive 90-minute film that examines the intersection of technology and occult phenomena such as spirit photography, telekinesis, and stage magic. “Imponderable” encourages the viewer to cast a skeptical lens on the thin line between illusion and reality, and to not be susceptible to easy solutions to what are in reality unanswerable questions about the universe.
This article appears in the November 2017 edition of Modern Painters.