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Museum Link:

Source Link:

Date Minted: June 26, 2020

Artist Description: Looping, splitting and fracturing capture of my face.

CohentheWriter’s Commentary:

“Looping, splitting and fracturing capture of my face,” is how artist Hazmus undersells his tremendously fascinating study of movement, |-| \/ |. Within this flurry of fracturing objects, the whole of Hazmus’ technical ability is on display, from the photorealistic shifting of colors to the reflection of light, the detail captured in such hyper-realistic movement, and all of this squeezed into a mere 4-second loop, although if you didn’t know up-front that the piece was a video repeating itself, you may not ever guess. It’s hard to ground oneself with all the movement; this piece is 100% action and energy. Often loops are more obvious, with the video beginning and ending from the same point of motionlessness. But because |-| \/ |  begins and ends mid-movement, with only a slight camera jilt to denote the fact that we’ve restarted, the video can play on 100 loops without seeming to repeat itself. Perhaps that stems from the way our eyes wander around the piece, from bright color to bright color, following the manic movement of the many splintered stems which are this piece’s subject. 

Hazmus’ face, which supposedly is this piece’s actual subject, is hardly ever glimpsed. With the piece spending most of its loop concerned with the free movement of long, spindly girders (that stretch across the length of the frame), there is only a fraction of a moment where these girders coalesce back together to reform into the artist’s face. We can glimpse half a pair of glasses, a mouth and a nose, perhaps a tuft of hair, but the coalescing only lasts half a moment, and then everything melts back into girders; the face, as mentioned “splitting and fracturing,” and the piece is once again dominated by the free-flying pieces of Hazmus’ noggin. Those segments themselves seem almost like long-lengths of balsa-wood what with their hazy yellowish-orange color. Their wooden yellow is interspersed with a red hue as well, providing the mish-mashed sequence of straight lines a construction-site feel. And the spindles don’t remain static; either they, or the frame with which we see them, spins wildly around, and we are suddenly ungrounded, turned upside-down and this way and that, hither and thither we go, the spindles go, until we’ve no idea which way is up or where we started or where we’re going back to, only knowing that the spindles continue to crisscross the frame like the individually secreted segments of a spider’s web. There are many dozens at first, and then there are less, perhaps half, and they seem to thin out more and more before a sudden deluge of them swoops back into frame, and Hazmus’ face is created again, its moment of cohesion passes, and then kaboom, we are back where we started, swirling amongst the strands.

It’s not easy to achieve this sense of gravity-lessness. It’s akin to nonsense literature in a way, where writing abstract or unintelligible sentences (think E.E. Cummings or Carroll’s “ The Jabberwocky”) is oftentimes far more difficult than writing phrases which consciously make sense. It’s hard to unground an observer when your toolset is limited to that which can fit within a frame. We are not dominated by this piece, after all. We are almost certainly seeing it either within a frame of a larger webpage, or on a screen attached to a wall, or perhaps projected onto a flat surface which we are standing in front of. In any case, it does not dominate its surroundings, and yet it is so frenetic and filled with motion, it still seems to dizzy us. We should not minimize the difficulty of such an achievement. Like putting on beer goggles, the constant refocusing of the frame undoes our sense of balance, and we are mentally sent topsy-turvy along with the pieces of Hazmus’ exploded face. 

I suppose you could call this a work of 3D sculpture, although that seems to diminish the full expression of its technical brilliance. Animation seems an understatement as well. Perhaps         |-| \/ | will just need to deny any preset categorization.

But does it deny understanding as well? Depends on the kinds of logical leaps we want to make up-front, and your ability to be swayed by them. So let’s start with what we know. This is Hazmus’ face, and we know that from the Artist Description. It was also minted on June 26th, 2020, in what some might consider the first dog days of the coronavirus pandemic. So taking what we know —that the artist has created a self-portrait of sorts amidst an ultra-confining pandemic, and in that self-portrait his being literally explodes into countless fractured parts— I think it’s safe to consider we’re dealing with a meta analysis of the artist from their own distant perspective. The state of a mind that’s been torn apart by world proceedings. I’m fascinated by this reading if for no other reason than the color palette Hazmus uses isn’t as blank or washed out or mottled as perhaps such an understanding would suggest. There’s a brightness to this piece. In the background, the blue of clear skies, and the halcyon colors suggest sunshine. Perhaps it’s irony Hazmus is capturing, and how our preconceptions about mental health rarely match the outward appearance. 

Regardless, such destruction can appear quite pleasant. Better to explode on a beautiful day than the alternative, I suppose. 



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