Terrible Presence Next Wave Festival

Animated horror film installation by Joel Zika.

Terrible Presence is an animated, multi–screen, surround-sound installation that adapts the classic horror film into an immersive experience. Critical theory of the horror genre is traditionally from a sociological perspective. However, the narrative of the horror film is often propelled as much by the cinematic devices deployed. These simple devices are taken to new levels; inanimate objects are given lives of their own (both literally and conceptually). From the image of the possessed car in John Carpenter’s ‘Christine’ to the brooding mansion in Roger Corman’s ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’ we see the extent of the freedom allowed to these genres and their subsequent impact.

Terrible Presence by animator and installation artist Joel Zika focuses on the universal identification of the viewer with these visual symbols of the genre. Through the investigation of cinematography and scenography Joel Zika establishes a new temporal dialogue with the audience. The work features a superb surround soundtrack and score by renowned Melbourne music and sound art producer Michael Theiler.

On exhibition at RMIT Gallery in RMIT’s heritage-listed Storey Hall, the work took advantage of the foreboding architectural interiors, which dominate the buildings’ aesthetic. This site–specific installation of the work features a triptych of projections, creating an altarpiece–like composition whilst using the Gothic window frames to add yet another layer to be explored.


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