The film eXistenZ, David Cronenbourg’s slimily apocalyptic millennium horror story, has been on my mind a fair bit recently, with its’ memorable scenes of desperate virtual reality players addicted to parasitic gaming-console organisms. Wildly futuristic at the time, it’s a vision of dependency and paranoia which has become ever more resonant as we are drawn deeper and deeper into the technological advances of the 21st century.
In one of Saturday night’s last slots, Asher Levine brought this vision to visceral life. Taking over the sleek shell of a Madison Avenue furniture showroom, his show started from behind a fume-filled screen, torn apart to allow the designer’s dystopian storm troopers through to the catwalk.
Levine’s work has always been deeply sculptural: but here the sculptures took on a life of their own, with forests of blackened tentacles and tendrils encasing arms, torsos and heads, whilst jackets and overcoats developed into semi-independent skeletal structures, swooping away from the models’ bodies into nightmarish hybrid silhouettes.
The colour palette stayed appropriately dark, with flashes of a withered, sickly purple which echoed the sense of fantasy graphic-novel exaggeration. And beneath all the chaos and alienating constructions, a bleak uniform of military vests, frayed shorts and flight suits suggested a future of much more familiar bleakness.
Posted by: John-Michael O'Sullivan
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