Cultured Magazine sends Tony Oursler and Leah Hennessey to Broadway
29 March 2020Cultured Magazine sent playwright, actor and musician Leah Hennesey on an excursion with Tony Oursler to experience Derren Brown's 'The Secret' on Broadway. What followed was an exploration of magic, the occult and the 'weird and eerie'.
"Tony is not only a creator; he is also an archivist. His archive, which exists as part of the Imponderable show and separately as a book of the same name, is a collection of what Mark Fisher might call “the weird and the eerie.” Weird and eerie are not the same as “creepy,” a word Tony feels is often inaccurately used to describe his work. The archive contains UFO photographs, occult paraphernalia, pareidolic flower petals, ectoplasm photograms, snapshots of Big Foot, hypnosis posters, Kirlian photographs by David Bowie, reliquaries, aura portraits, meteorite samples and original prints of the Cottingley Fairies. After the show, we visit Tony’s studio and he brings out the newest additions to his vast collections of oddities: double exposures of stern-faced mourners from the 1910s composited with ghostly handwriting: “spirit writing,” he explains. Tony toys with the idea of attraction to magic as an act of resistance. “People don’t want to be left in a lurch of rationalism, where you live in a brutalist world of capitalism,” he says. “The attraction to magic is analogous to a real experience, and what is the real experience?”
Image: Polaroid of Tony Oursler, by Leah Hennessey.