Of monsters and B-movies

Creature from the Black Lagoon
Creature from the Black Lagoon

While poking at Flickr, I was caught by an image posted by Livio Korobase. An Artist In Residence for the 5th round of that programme, Livio really caught my eye with his Musiclandia installation, so knowing he’d received a region from the LEA as a part of AIR round 6, I was intrigued to find out more, particularly as the image included a SLurl.

Creature from the Black Lagoon is very different from his earlier work, and yet at the same time somewhat similar in that there is strong subtext here, if one is willing (or familiar enough) with the imagery to see it.

Creature from the Black Lagoon
Creature from the Black Lagoon

This is gorgeous homage to the B-movies of old, focused primarily on the 1954 Bill Arnold monster movie from which the piece takes its name.  The choice of the film is actually clever on a number of levels – including the fact it was originally a 3D production using polarised light projection (so that audiences used glasses similar to those us use in cinemas today rather than those of the anaglyph 3D type), so seeing the creature rendered in 3D in-world fits very much with the original format of the film.

It’s also a somewhat whimsical piece as well. In the midst of giant monsters from the deep, cards commemorating some of the great (and not so great!) B-movies of old and oversized animals, floor polishers motor themselves industriously back and forth across the beautiful, reflective floor of the piece. The whimsy in their presence is not only that they are there, but in that you can ride them … However, they also have a place in the larger scheme of things; how often have we watched a film in which, late at night, the hero (or more usually the heroine) passes a lone worker busily polishing a floor, only for the machine to suddenly stop and / or the worker to vanish from behind them? It’s a signature scene telling audiences to get ready to jump as Something Is About To Happen.

Creature from the Black Lagoon
Creature from the Black Lagoon

Similarly, the installation includes the familiar – dare I say clichéd – indicators beloved of B-movie directors to identify the scientific mind in their story: the horn-rimmed glasses and briar pipe. There is something of a romance here as well; although it’s not necessarily centred on any hero and his heroine; rather it seems as though our creature may have romantic inclinations towards his leading lady …

For those wishing to immerse themselves in the genre, there’s a movie theatre where you can climb the ladder and watch scenes from the movie; you can grab a packet of popcorn from the vendor amidst the cards. However, I feel I must advise those of a particularly nervous disposition that unfortunately there is no sofa to hide behind during the scarier moments … 😉

Creature from the Black Lagoon
Creature from the Black Lagoon

The installation is still something of a work-in-progress, although Livio is happy to receive visitors there. When you do  visit, please use the region windlights; they are quite striking and provide wonderful additional texture to the piece.

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