Head/Body Split
A recurrent theme in Oceanic Horror is the splitting of heads from bodies. Split in various ways: Lowered into the screen, the craning neck shadowing the facial features; physically masked, or masked behind avatars and internet incognitos; cut out of the cinematic frame; attempted removed with the gashing of a thin blade. Aside from these visually direct splittings, a more shrouded kind of splitting forms a perpetual undertow to the whole ordeal - the split between body and head in the body horror reality of the cognitive worker. Always prompted to forget or discard the body and – until the moment that same body cries out in lumbago and stress related critical failure – stay on keyboard, stay on the surface of touch-sensitive conductive glass, stay on a synthetic body ideal. The body, as organic and extimate is left unprotected, uncared for, unattended. Oh, the body is worked, it is optimised, it is trimmed and kept, but merely as vehicle for the optimisation of the cognitarian venture. The two are still split - the head and the body. What is left unprotected is the emotional relation between the thought and the bodily felt. What is uncared for is the link between language and empathy. What goes unattended is that linkage between the body and the world. The crisis of the severed head is two-sided – on one side the detachment of the cognitive worker to her bodily experiences (and the empathy-building potentials of such experiences) and on the other the acknowledgement of an oppressive ‘making of working bodies’ that are restricted from entering the space of cognitive undertakings, paralysing any form of unity and collective organisation.

An important part of this artistic research project is to investigate possibilities to utilise, bridge or patch up this separating split. Jolt it into perspective, weird it into new perceptions, gore it into shared experiences. Always realising, of course, that this work is equally caught in the same form of split – swapping the body of experience, for more airy contemplations on what could possibly be experienced. In ‘Cinema 2: The Time Image’ (1989) Deleuze writes: ‘The link between man and the world is broken. Henceforth, this link must become an object of belief: it is the impossible which can only be restored within a faith. Belief is no longer addressed to a different or transformed world. Man is in the world as if in a pure optical and sound situation. The reaction of which man has been dispossessed can be replaced only by belief. Only belief in the world can reconnect man to what he sees and hears. The cinema must film, not the world, but belief in this world, our only link.’ (1989) I wanted the gore rig scene in Archipelago (No one is an island) to project everything away from a romanticising of the dystopic and the ominous. In the same way as the self-cutting of the suicidal banker is crude and uneven, so is the returning insertion of the gore rig scene. It is thought to serve as grotesque comic relief or revolting shock, either way jolting us back into the body. The head split is a classic, if anything perhaps even expected, trope of horror cinema, where in the space of the video installation in the contemporary art gallery, it performs a more unexpected break with the atmosphere of an art exhibition. A break trying for a calling of the viewer back into her body. The unreality of this scene, is envisioned as a way of filming, not the world, but the belief in this world.

The Gore Rig
The gore rig is a contraption attached to the actor, connecting a hose, from the special effects makeup of an already open gash in the throat, down across the body and into a pump, pushing theatre blood back up through it. The spurting of blood that shoots from the neck of the actor forms truly random patterns of liquid, drenching the set in its red splatter. The deliberate choice to use applied special effects for this scene, even with all the messy complications this entails for a smaller film crew working on location, was crucial in order to get at this blunt breaking with the contemplative pacing of the cinematic atmosphere; to get at the abject notion of the perfect virtual depiction being sullied and smeared. In contrast, the CGI blood simulations, that at other intervals take over the two projection screens, follow a different form of randomness. The algorithmic randomness of the fluid simulator, disregarding the gravity aspect of squirting gore. Invisible containers manipulating the scarlet pouring. Systems of input and output, determining the situation of the random process, designing that perfect splatter. The order of the algorithm, time and again, stands out as entirely other.