Ian Haig works across media, from video, sculpture, drawing, technology based media and installation. Haig’s practice refuses to accept that the low and the base level are devoid of value and cultural meaning. His body obsessed themes can be seen throughout a large body of work over the last twenty years. Previous works have looked to the contemporary media sphere and its relationship to the visceral body, the degenerative aspects of pervasive new technologies, to cultural forms of fanaticism and cults, to ideas of attraction and repulsion, body horror and the defamiliarisation of the human body.
ian haig
The Frozen Dead - cinematic homeostasis device, 2013
video sculpture
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Produced in 2004 and exhibited in 2013

The Frozen Dead - cinematic homeostasis device is a 'black box' device for keeping the decapitated head of an actor alive in a permanent state of un-death on screen. The ubiquitous black box – a common addition of the home entertainment system is given a new meaning here, a device for maintaining life on screen - Playing on a range of schisms of the animate/inanimate and dead/alive qualities of the video image itself.

The black box is also the name given to the flight recorder to hear those last remaining details of aviation disasters and the voices of the dead; the black box too references science and engineering, as a device or system which contains some kind of input/output without any knowledge of its internal workings.

The work activates the last remaining moments of death onscreen, with the function of keeping the actor alive from slipping over into onscreen death, the device also functions as a means of keeping the medium of film alive which like the decapitated head in my work, is in the throes of dying.

A scene from a B-grade horror film ‘The Frozen Dead’ plays on a never ending loop, the scene in the film features a head that is in the process of being brought back to life. The monitor connected to various electrodes, monitoring and maintaining life onscreen

As Tom Gunning has pointed out - the beginning of cinema with the Lumiere Brothers in 1895, was interpreted as a manifestation of immortality: ‘death will no longer be total - what first seems to promise immortality ultimately delivers ghosts. What we get is not someone who lives forever, but someone whose image or shadow has been caught and forced to repeat the same gestures over and over again, condemned to an eternal repetition.’

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