The beyond-real composes a creeping sensation of things not settling in a manner constituent to the ‘real’ world. Something breaks with the underlying structures of consensus reality, but instead of merely writing this off as an anomaly, this reality rather conforms to accommodate it. The monster often embodies this beyond-realness, but as it is gradually made visual, ‘becoming flesh’, it somehow returns to the tedious confines of the real; as an abomination of this, no doubt, yet still comfortably translatable into its terminology. The true sensation of something beyond-real, will therefore be most prevalent in the materiality that forms around and beyond the monster; the arrhythmically movements of a body; objects moving without sound; sounds that atmospherically do not belong; architectures that change – all convincingly inhabiting the reality of this space, yet felt on the spine as completely out of place. The body knows. One of the ways that these beyond-real qualities come to the forefront in my work with Oceanic Horror is in the implementation of Computer Generated Images (CGI). Within this medium I have been exploring the way that things take up space in the frame, but has no ‘weight’. It can flow, fall, flare, deflate, but the body knows that while it watches everything unfold, nothing is taking place. I have searched for ways in which the hyper-realness (as in a real that always refers beyond its own reality) of the coding structure and its simulators, creates a certain beyond-realness, in opposition to something simply unreal. A virtual confrontation of the hierarchical order of realities; contesting what image realm is most in tune with our current image world. These virtual realms are glossed and visually reverberating, much like the digital spaces in which memories are stored, the self is represented and identity is reflected. In this confrontation the beyond-real may be proclaimed as exactly that, and the actual floor underneath the feet of the spectator (or artist) suddenly feels refreshingly solid. That floor we call reality. With the sensation of experiencing the beyond-real, as not really real, comes the feeling of something eerie. Something that is not there, where there should obviously be something. The feeling of eeriness goes hand in hand with the feeling of dread.

The abject, is another attribute of horror that may often relate to the monster, but mostly exists outside of it, as excretions or expulsions from its body. It also comes into being without the embodiment of a monster, but rather in the monstering of the body of the protagonist that the audience is made to identify with. The abject exists as excrement, trace or symptom; as fluid oozing from wounds or hair that clog up the mouth. When the monster is revealed in all its given realness, these extensions again lose their abject quality; all the departing points of excretion explained away. Without the monster, the abject is unleashed from questions of cause, now unfolding freely in all its strangeness; as deform bodies, excessive vomiting, peelings of skin, the drinking of blood, the feeding on ones own flesh. These are moments where the viewing body flinch, threatened as Julia Kristeva argues, 'by a breakdown in meaning caused by the loss of the distinction between subject and object or between self and other' (Felluga, 2011); by experiencing the body of the other as ones own, which it is obviously not; by something that is me which is not me; oneself-as-not-oneself. A mirroring sensation that does not allow one to recognise what is cast back. In Oceanic Horror the abject is envisioned as a political tool. A jolting of the spectator’s body into an awakened state that experiences itself experiencing. Kristeva writes that the abject has to do with 'what disturbs identity, system, order. What does not respect borders, positions, rules.' (1982) And that 'these body fluids, this defilement, this shit are what life withstands, hardly and with difficulty, on the part of death.' (1982) ‘There, I am’, she writes, ‘at the border of my condition as a living being'. (1982)

The abject also takes form inside saturated realms of bodies (corpses or digital copies) that are all experienced remote from the sensational experience of the sensing body’s own corporeality. I have been considering the relation between the horror genre and the abject and whether this obviously close relationship (the gore, the excretion, the breaking of rules and borders) is fading out in the High Definition rendering of all the mess and gore into perfect simulations of abject matter. The blood spatter that prettily twirls from the smashed skull in model simulation of liquids parting and merging, forms a pleasant computer generated choreography of something that was supposed to come out unruly and staggeringly non-pretty. In the process the unruly is ordered and the sensation of abjection disappears, in the sense that there is no bodily understanding of that blood as mine-yet-not-mine. The same can be said of the wound. The shallow poly triangle geometry of perforated skin, perfect in its distribution of pores and body hair, looks real to the point where one can no longer relate to it, as corresponding to one’s own. Non of us are this perfectly distributed, color corrected, tight and easily opened up.

But as we get used to seeing ourselves as these computer generated puppets on screen (vertically handheld as well as horizontal cinemascope – and if not entirely virtual, then post-polished and filtered for sure), we may internalise the sensation of the abject as something not occurring in us through the other, but rather something that happens entirely on the other elsewhere from us. The perforation of skin, might symbolically relate to my skin, but since my skin is now always already conceived to be of another (virtual), I cannot experienced this perforation as abject. Abjection is then only ever conceived as the abjection of the other – not the other-as-me. What would constitute the return of abjection as the-other-as-me-as-the-other? Perhaps it is to be found in a return to the obviously imitated quality of the analogue special effect, the squibs - the blood-bags that squirt real liquid out in truly random fashion - or in silicone tissue imitating skin as it is gashed. Or perhaps it is still possible within the simulation of computer generated images, if a more crude or beyond-real style of animation (diverting from the now shared visual understanding of perfectly retouched bodies) is used. I’ve been searching for visual parametres that would jolt the body back into the understanding of this-body-that-is-not-me-but-yes-me; that breakdown in meaning caused by the loss of the distinction between subject and object.

In Oceanic Horror I have been working with CGI bodies and objects that are unmistakably not real, deliberately trying to toy with notions of how CGI reality is supposed to look and from the distortions of this, perhaps rejuvenate the notion of the abject; a breaking down of meaning between object and subject in the distorted translations between corpse and corporality. I have also been working with the mechanics of the special effect, in which actual fluids and objects are utilised in contrast to virtual effects that only exist in the digital. This is a choice based not only on how the non-virtual special effect has an almost sculptural feel to it, that possibly could reconnect to that abject sensation, but most importantly in how the two differ from one-another temporally. Where the virtual effect comes into existence in post-production (added-on after the fact), the special effect is bound to the moment of production. Blood squirts now, in this very moment, and is caught on tape together with everything else occurring.