ArtBeat: Josh Azzarella’s “Untitled #100 (Fantasia)”

OK, as any regular reader knows, we have done our very best to ignore the Michael Jackson frenzy of the past several months.

But sometimes, art transcends celebrity media mania.

So take a few moments, and allow yourself to sink into “Untitled #100 (Fantasia)”, a new work by video artist Josh Azzarella.

Yes, it probably looks a little familiar. And yet it also looks oh-so-different.

Azzarella’s work is, in fact, the music video for Jackson’s landmark “Thriller,” directed by John Landis. Sort of. Azzarella has manipulated the video, however. The work allegedly took the artist nearly three years to complete.

First of all, you’ll notice that Jackson’s signature is missing. There is no music; just a haunting, ambient soundtrack.

Secondly, you’ll notice that there are no people in the video. Jackson, Ola Ray and the entire zombie cast has been painstakingly, digitally erased. What we’re left with is even creepier than the original Jackson video. It’s a kind of post-apocalyptic world devoid of humans and dominated by whisps of fog.

The thrill may be gone, but Azzarella’s vision of vacant streetscenes and abandoned living rooms certainly does put the chill in “Thriller.”

“Untitled #100 (Fantasia)” is on exhibit at Kavi Gupta Gallery in Chicago through Saturday, December 5.

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