Halflifers – Waystation 1996

A strange Good Samaritan figure in a vivid red suit takes pity on a retching soldier who drags himself through the vile green, almost toxic looking, grass. This saturated, pastoral landscape forms the intersection point for these two transitory beings. The coarse VHS-quality video image and rough soundtrack enhance the truly unpleasant atmosphere. The video can be viewed as a metaphor for the utter exhaustion of the old system of representation: it has run out of oxygen, lying inert in an unfriendly environment. The Halflifers fearlessly follow their calling to liberate the “I” from the constant threat of disintegration. Through improvisation and collage they develop new scenarios for a more healthy evolution. They collect their material which is selected from a variety of sources like science fiction, reality TV, drama-therapy etc. Their goal is to be empathic and restorative, but at the same time they embrace a physical humor and a sense of nostalgia for alternate realisties and timelines. Waystation imagines a futurological realm which provides a buffer against the alienating effects of the modern technological state. By entering this realm and triggering improvised “crisis re-enactments,” ordinary activities and settings are transformed into interior landscapes charged with potential hazards. This work eventuelly became part of the piece ‘Homesteaders’, which merged and re-worked ‘Way Station’ and the work ‘Control Corridor’. It introduces the ‘Immersion man’ and experiments with different communication strategies.

BIO: HALFLIFERS is an ongoing collaborative project created by longtime friends Torsten Zenas Burns and Anthony Discenza. Zenas Burns received his BFA in Media Art from New York State College of Art & Design at Alfred University in 1990, and an MFA in Performance and Video from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1993. He currently resides in Holyoke, MA. Anthony Discenza received a BFA in studio art from Wesleyan University in 1990, and an MFA in video from C.C.A.C. in 2000. He currently resides in West Oakland, CA.

The HALFLIFERS create videotapes, photographs and installations exploring speculative fictions including zombie / afterlife relationships, rescue-rituals and psychic manifestations.
Their installation projects have shown at exhibitions in the US, Europe and Australia.