Max Almy, Teri Yarbrow
Utopia is a multi-media installation which explores the state of the environment and, specifically, the crisis of the contemporary urban environment. The core of the piece is an unusual interactive video game hosted by performance artist, Rachel Rosenthal, in which the viewer is asked to make a series of choices: heaven/hell, power/impotence, fiction/reality, Utopia/dystopia...
These are the dichotomies of the city, particularly in Los Angeles, where we all desire Heaven and we don't want to confront Hell; where we are seduced by the Hollywood fiction that we can have Wealth, Beauty, Paradise, and that anything less is a failure. The interactive video is designed to have the visceral, exciting quality of a video game while at the same time presenting compelling video imagery, text, sound score and experimental performance. "Within the setting of the installation, the viewer is drawn toward the game on a large interactive monitor. Coaxed by a surrounding chorus on two additional video monitors, the viewer picks up a laser gun and enters into collusion with a strangely bizarre and challenging interactive activity. (Max Almy/Teri Yarbrow)