Tony Oursler was born in New York in 1957. He attended the California institute for the Arts in 1979, B.F.A. He lives and works in New York.
In his Spaced series, Oursler conflates the highly technical and abstract history of space exploration with equal parts anxiety and wonder. Collectively, these works comment on our attempts to transcend the quotidian through science, revealing the comic and tragic aspects of human nature in the process. Characters projected in the series include a cosmic cloud lost in space, a crashed rocket ship, a meteorite, a black hole and a burnt out star, Combined they create an installation that uses the gallery floor as a symbolic earth and room volumes as outer space/free space. While parts of the installation fall victim to gravity, others take the form of celestial bodies, smoldering stars, or space dust on the edge of black holes. Outer space becomes a personal reflection on the desire to leave primitive consciousness for another -higher-level. The individual is in play against the forces of the universe, as mundane existence often triggers escapist tendencies manifesting in multiple forms of experimentation and often ending in futile attempts at personal evolution.
Gravity is seen as a metaphor for the banality of day-to-day existence and the inherent responsibilities of work, death and taxes. In the context of the petty problems of daily life, dealing with the vast complexity of the universe takes on an almost transcendent perspective. Spaced evokes the spirit of heroic exploration, real and unreal, whether it be science fiction or the space race itself. The series contains actual music gleaned from NASA's recordings of Deep Space.