Wesley John Fourie

HYPERBALLAD (Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft) (2023)

8 min 26 secSingle channel / Digital Video / Colour / Sound

A work from Wesley John Fourie's ongoing HYPERBALLAD series, in this work the artist performs to the song Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft in their studio. Originally released by the Canadian band Klaatu in 1976, the song was inspired by an experiment termed 'World Contact Day', initiated by an organisation known as the 'International Flying Saucer Bureau.' At the bureau's instruction, on a day in March 1953, its members were to collectively send out a telepathic message to visitors from outer space. The message began with the words..."Calling occupants of interplanetary craft!" Fourie's work takes up this call as a metaphor for feelings of isolation and alienation, attempting to seek out others who might also feel 'alien'.

Part of the series HYPERBALLAD (2023-24).

HYPERBALLAD is a video-based body of work by Wesley John Fourie that references their study of narcissism in psychoanalysis as well as the classical myth of Narcissus, reimagined through contemporary internet culture and pop music. These performances to camera are shot in the artist’s studio in Ōtepoti, and use available objects (hammers, scissors, wine bottles, bananas, coffee jars, etc.) as stunt microphones to sing along to love songs dedicated to someone (or 'something')—both real and abstract—on the other side of the screen. Part cathartic rambling, part karaoke goodness, Fourie takes on the role of the jester, the popstar, or anyone seeking their twenty minutes of fame. They invite us into a manufactured world of vulnerability, where the trope of the tortured artist in the studio meets Tumblr girl-style confessional. Considering the online realm as a platform for storytelling, these works also possess a more sinister quality, exploring the potential for heartfelt honesty to slip into self-exposure and voyeurism. 

Other works in this series

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