EVOL, 1984

By Billy Rubin
Published in Vox Vernacular
Feb. 24, 2014

"Love" spelled backwards is the title of this work. EVOL also refers to the word evolution and the contradictory aspect of the relationship between individual and collective experience. Each person must evolve within his or her own lifespan-metaphorically crawling out of the swamp-yet we are all part of a larger chain of events. The cultural construct of love as unique and highly personal yet a shared and common fantasy is emblematic of these two coexisting perspectives. EVOL charts the territory between our passion-charged personal narratives and the near impossibility of representing that desire visually or linguistically, the end result often being nothing more than banal cultural cliche?s. The imagery of this tape is densely layered, as Oursler demonstrates his theory that narrative is multidimensional and non-linear. Hallmark Valentine's cards, the Madonna and Child, pop songs, newspaper advice columns, super hallucinogens, sex tourism, sperm donors and a primitive high-school play blur together in a cauldron of personal desires and obsessions. EVOL was shot on an enormous soundstage in Buffalo, NY, allowing wild shifts in perspective and scale as actors and figurines become interchangeable. The camera moves fluidly through colorful sets constructed and connected in sequence for filming multiple scenes continuously, thereby minimizing edits. This work has a relatively large cast featuring, among others, Tony Conrad, Constance DeJong, Tony Labat and Mike Kelley.