10 November 2004

She's a horror movie set designer turned animator, he's a video game addict who once served in the Israeli army. In many ways, Eddo Stern and Marina Zurkow are opposites. So what will happen when they come together for the first time this December for 'Darkly Comic', a new exhibition opening at FACT?

Zurkow and Stern mix arti-fact and fiction in an exhibition that betrays a curious interest in teen culture. Zurkow's colourful, interactive videos reflect the dark undercurrents of sugar-coated teen comix culture on a grand scale, while Stern uses computer games as his starting point. On the surface, their work appears disarmingly innocent, but deeper down, sinister and disturbing things begin to emerge.

Darkly Comic features the UK premiere of Zurkow's 'Nicking the Never', an animated allegory about a young girl stuck in a kinetic world of emotional pitfalls. A Kaleidoscopic trip into selfhood with its base in the structure of the Tibetan Buddhist Wheel of Existence, whose images luridly and vividly describe the human struggle with need, jealousy, complacence, aggression, desire and ego. This large-scale video installation was first shown as a multi-channel installation at the Kitchen in New York, May 2004 and has its UK premiere at FACT.

Also showing is 'Pussy Weevil', Zurkow collaborative project with Julian Bleecker, an interactive site-specific animated video installation intended for George W. Bush's Oval Office. The W, sadly, has not responded to telephone calls.

Stern will present newly commissioned work alongside his internationally acclaimed trilogy of video works. 'Sheik Attack', 'Vietnam Romance' and 'Death Star' explore the ways that the trauma of reality and history become digested in computer games as something pleasurable. The videos tell fictional histories of conflict (Israel, the Vietnam War and 9/11) through footage of game play. The videos evoke pop nostalgic pleasure alongside the dim realization that at some point in history, somewhere in the world, events resembling the ones in these videos did actually happen. Darkly Comic is supported by Creative Capital.