<< back to writings and reviews

Chronicles of the New Human Organism – short reviews

Melbourne artist Ian Haig calls his epic video — Chronicles of the New Human Organism— a ‘sci-fi documentary’. Offering itself as an educational video for some futuristic cult, its mélange of new-age philosophy grinds you down with the madness behind its method. It’s the Discovery Channel from another dimension.
- The institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, 2010

Chronicles of the new human organism is Ian Haig’s video opus to the wildest of speculative thought and behavior, from the ranting of science –fiction suicide cults to the theories of discredited scientists and cosmologists. Edited together as an unrelenting visual assault of imagery of bubbling primordial ooze, divine architectures, bizarre occult practices and strange beasts, overlaid by a soothing meditation-tape voice. Haig has assembled a work that defies the logical processes and pedagogies of science
- Bec Dean, Awfully Wonderful catalogue, 2011

I love the creepiness of this Video Art work by Australian artist Ian Haig. Chronicles of the new Human Organism is a 50 minute video with sound by PH2 (Philip Brophy and Philip Samartzis). The work was created over 5 years, shot mostly on different locations in Australia, New Zealand, US, Japan, Thailand and Korea. It’s a patchwork of potent symbology that seems to tap right into some of our primordial fears. It kind of reminds me of the Ludovico Technique from A Clockwork Orange, with similarly disturbing thought reprogramming through Haig’s mondo appropriation of psycho-analytic artefacts.
- artabase, April 2011

Inspired partly by Mondo movies or the shockumentaries of the 196os Ian hones in on the refined conventions of tacky docos and produces a film based on pseudo anthropological/archeological theories, crackpot ideas, fanatical cults, sci-fi, horror and much, much more. Chronicles is a riot of complimentary genres in hi and lo tech. Like David Attenborough is introduced to Ron Hubbard by Erich von Daniken at Heaven’s Gate. Heavy ? Not really …. Chronicles sits in the “bad enough to be good zone” and for an artist this is really hard to contrive. It takes many years of dedication and devotion to trash culture to pull this kind of thing off and Ian clearly steps up to the plate. Produced in various global locations on the smell of an oily rag he has succeeded in reproducing a cheap look that strives not to look cheap …  a film that generates lots of fascinating discussion. – Canberra contemporary Art Space, June 2011

Ian Haig’s Chronicles of the New Human Organism is an experimental, mondo-style documentary film of an almost hypnotic nature. While a disembodied voice walks you through different ideas about human evolution, new age science, aliens and more, the sometimes abstract imagery bubbles and burbles all around. The hypnotism comes from just relaxing into the experience and going along with the flow; if you’re not too careful, or actually listening to what is being said, you may find that you’ve got some puzzling ideas circulating in your subconscious afterward. Or maybe you wouldn’t notice; it is your subconscious, after all.- Mark Bell, Film Threat online, July 2011

In a hypothetical scenario, this work attempts to conduct a critical investigation into the limits of human knowledge, departing from a provocative premise: that art is a species of cultural malady capable of inducing important reflections, the artist creates a futuristic essay on the human race. Within a hypnotic setting, in which space and time are reinvented, the work attempts to conduct a critical investigation into the limits of human belief systems – Videobrasil, September, 2011

This hybridity is the essence of the work. On its surface it’s a kind of posthumanist prophecy narrated by an indeterminately European woman in a calm monotone. Images that are alternately anthropological, science fictional and transgressive in a Cronenbergian-body-disgust sort of way are hypnotically chained together. There are phallic statues, bubbling tar pits and hands rummaging around in unidentified guts. Together the audio and visuals recreate the feel of scientific language in a pseudo-scientific, vaguely spiritual manifesto of human evolution. The truth of which—as with the rhetoric of any good cult—is unknowable. – Kane Daniel, Three Thousand, 2012