In 1932, American Psychologist Harry Harlow founded a Primate Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and created the first monkey breeding colony in the United States. Using a large population of newly born rhesus monkeys as subjects, Dr. Harlow studied infant relationships by replacing their mothers with artificial surrogates, made of cloth and wire.
The Messiah Complex 5.0 utilizes the Harlow experiments as a point of departure to explore concepts of religious evolution. The first segment, The Artificial Mother, excavates the trajectory from idolatry to monotheism – using Harlow’s ‘Cloth Mother’ as a metaphor to explain the religious motivation for visual and tactile iconographies. The second segment, The Messiah Complex, unearths the mythological matrix of the messianic, involving themes of conception, birth, orphan upbringing, spiritual trials and tests all aligned with the trajectory of Harlow’s primate test subjects.
The Messiah Complex 5.0 constructs a symphony of ceremonial techno- lectures hybridizing images, videos, diagrams and texts sampled from Pop Culture, Ancient Religion, Freudian Psychoanalysis, Archaeology, Queer Theory and Anthropology producing a trance-inducing Powerpoint-Sermon. Shapeshifting between human and primate, prophet and prostitute, animal and machine, Dudeck re-mixes information and histories in a stylized ritual that is hypnotic, immersive, and disturbing.
The Messiah Complex 5.0 is produced by an imaginary institution, The Museum of Artificial Histories, which appropriates aesthetic strategies utilized by Dominant Knowledge Industries to excavate the mechanisms used to design and disseminate Grand Narratives.
*English subtitles will be provided for scripted portions of the performance.