{"'Liebchen, this is the other half of the earth. In Germany you would be yellow and blue.' Mirror-metaphysics." - Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow}

Haribo + cul-de-sac = Oddsac

Every now and then I disappear for a while. That’s just what I do. But I always resurface. What brought me back again this time was the colorful world of Oddsac that came to town yesterday, along with the sun. Video artist Danny Perez teamed up with the band Animal Collective to create this vibrant multihued project which took four years to materialize. Images of laughter, revulsion and weirdness interspersed with abstract color schemes and the occasional blank page interact with ominous, happy and trance-inducing soundscapes. Hypnotizing and bewildering, psychotic and poetic, elegant and electrical, Oddsac oscillates between disgust and seduction, between the hyperkinetic activity of Victor Moscoso’s psychedelic posters and the static power of Kazimir Malevich’s suprematist white square.

“I hate symmetry.” It could have been my line, but I’m quoting Danny Perez here. I am convinced that in art as well as in life two things should be avoided: symmetry and association (and by extension narrative). And I guess that is what instantly made me like this work: Oddsac challenges the limits of video art, it defies the cul-de-sac of a medium that has been banging against the walls - or rather the frames - to which it has been restricted since its inception. By steering clear of the formalism of pure abstraction while at the same time not succumbing to the lure of narrative Oddsac offers a tantalizing experience of – well, of energy. Oddsac delivers a trip that leads from a girl engulfed in gooey, campers being attacked by their own marshmallows in a pitch-black wood, a blonde faceless drummer in sea of rocks as a modern day incarnation of Caspar David Friedrich’s ‘Wanderer above the sea of fog’, over kinetic transient pulses, to an ecstatically dancing crowd without ever becoming fixed to just one set of references or just one interpretation.

When asked where the name Oddsac originates from David Portner (aka Avey Tare) answered that they simply like candy, of the Haribo kind, all the different kinds of candy tossed together in a bag. That somehow connects to the childlike tenderness that also pervades the work – and that makes Oddsac at the same time pretty cool and endearingly fragile. The obvious homage to B-movies and their genre conventions – such as the scene with the vampire who isn’t all that scary – demonstrate this delicateness as well.

There is a laziness of the good kind, the “I’m the laziest gal in town” Marlene Dietrich kind of laziness, and there is laziness of the bad kind where everything just has to be easy and accessible. Carl von Ossietzky wrote about Siegfried Jacobsohn: “Um politisch zu werden, brauchte er nicht die Kabbala der Ismen.” I’d argue that many artists today need the ‘kabbala of isms’ to become creative. There definitely lurks a bad kind of laziness in this. Oddsac however breathes labor, perseverance, insight and guts.

Danny Perez said that he has a recurring dream about being in Amsterdam, working there, and then finally drowning there. Makes sense, there is way too much water in this town. As Deleuze rightly pointed out: this city is a war machine due to its numerous canals. One can only hope that Danny Perez will find inspiration instead of death here.

Here’s the trailer:

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