Ian Haig works across media, from video, sculpture, drawing, technology based media and installation. Haig’s practice refuses to accept that the low and the base level are devoid of value and cultural meaning. His body obsessed themes can be seen throughout a large body of work over the last twenty years. Previous works have looked to the contemporary media sphere and its relationship to the visceral body, the degenerative aspects of pervasive new technologies, to cultural forms of fanaticism and cults, to ideas of attraction and repulsion, body horror and the defamiliarisation of the human body.
'Some Thing' is a fusion of David Cronenberg’s New Flesh and William S. Burroughs transmuted bodies that populate The Naked Lunch. When referring to the junkie’s mutating body in The Naked Lunch, Burroughs sees it as loosing its "human citizenship and was in consequence, a creature without a species"
'Some Thing', is too perhaps a creature without a species, an aberration of flesh, guts and gristle that renders the human body as unclassifiable meat. It is what Burroughs refers to as un-D.T. - Undifferentiated Tissue, a condition whereby the body and it’s flesh liquefies and transforms into a new form
The work references the teratological body, the body turned inside out, its internal viscera exposed and appearing in places that it shouldn’t, like a DNA experiment that has gone horribly wrong. The work too plays on notions of the abject and uncanny, as the body appears caught in between states of the living and the dead, in the throes of dying or possibly being born. 'Some Thing' depicts a body that was possibly once human and is now on its way to being something else, it is either sub human or post human, we can’t quite be sure.
The sculpture’s simple animatronic movement of twitches, jerks, pulsations and breathing appears as if the creature is either dying, partly alive or possibly being born, the ambiguity over the creature’s state of being is intentional. The limited animatronic movement actives the imagination of the viewer into thinking they saw the creature move, or possibly not. The imperative of much animatronics is to simulate life: realism and natural behaviors, my motivation is to simulate dying: depicted as irrational movement and uncontrollable twitching, and slow breathing.
The sound to the work by PH2 also extends many of the themes of the work, by providing a soundtrack of the internal body in Dolby 5.1 surround sound.
Concept, development, direction and original model: Ian Haig, Production and fabrication: Fiona Edwards, Animatronics and electronics: Martin James, Sound: PH2 (Philip Brophy and Philip Samartzis) Thanks to Drew Harding, John Barcham and Creature Technology Ltd, (size: 110 cm x 65 cm x 47 cm)
Funded with the assistance of the Australia Council, Inter-Arts Office, 2011