New Criticals

Rist’s immersive multimedia work, Pour Your Body Out (7354 Cubic Meters) (2008-9, Museum of Modern Art, New York), is a great example. (Selected video documentation of this and the other works in question is available through the book’s multimedia companion project.) The all-encompassing, cathedral-scaled work consists of enormous moving images projected onto all four walls of a colorful, carpeted, and cushioned interior. Immense cascades of magenta drapery partially enclose the otherwise sprawling exhibition space. Huge projectors emit dream-like, non-narrative imagery of female, animal, and natural forms. Upon entering the environment, viewers are free to choose how to explore it: some roam throughout the eroticized multimedia space, circulating amidst the other visitors, others sprawl in groups on a massive mattress-like seating element in the center of the space. Regardless of which path they choose to follow or the perspective from which they view the piece, Rist’s viewers find themselves surrounded by other viewing bodies, encircled by wall-sized projections, and enveloped by hallucinatory electronic music. There is no getting out of the entangled stickiness of it all--you feel your surroundings in this immersive multimedia environment. You are provoked, no matter how briefly, to experience yourself as embodied, sensuous, and contingent--as an active body co-constituted with other lively bodies, technologies, and processes.