​A practice that liberates found materials into new configurations that seek to disrupt the deep–coded control signals of mainstream media.

Image: Soda_Jerk, After the Rainbow, 2009, 2 channel video installation,
digital video, colour, sound, 5 min 30 sec


Dan Angeloro, born 1977, Sydney, Australia
Dominique Angeloro, born 1979, Sydney, Australia

Something strange happens when the coherence of a formal narrative breaks down, or is rearranged, is deliberately effaced or rewritten. On recalling the effect of the cut up methodology, writer William S. Burroughs observed that “...when you cut into the present the future leaks out.” Burroughs believed in psychic time travel via the technology of the typewriter and a pair of scissors – by cutting up text Burroughs and fellow experimental pioneer Brion Gysin set the reader free from the temporal rule of conventional narrative, a leap into a universe delimited by time and space.

(Dom and Dan Angeloro, known as) Soda_Jerk have long embraced a tradition of art making that has, at various times, been called collage, appropriation, remix and hauntology, a practice that liberates found materials into new configurations that seek to disrupt the deep–coded control signals of mainstream media. The Dark Matter Cycle (2005–ongoing) explores the cross–temporal connections of the lives of actors such as River Phoenix and Judy Garland, deeply affecting counter-narratives that turn fragments from The Wizard of Oz and My Own Private Idaho into moments emblematic of the pathos of mortal time.

The Lessons (2009–ongoing) is a sequence of works that conflate disparate cultural movements and moments into trans-historical dialogues. The Popular Front (2011) explores the spread of virus–like memes across the web, a conceptual communication that exists simultaneously inside and outside of media, imagined and contained, but ownerless, through a ‘master’ meme in the form of the classic and much referenced image of Bob Dylan from the clip for Subterranean Homesick Blues. Tap Hop (2009) pits tap dancers and hip–hop breakers into a dance off with deliberately confused musical reference points.

This small sample of Soda_Jerk’s work demonstrates the conceptual ambition of their artistic project: it is forward looking as it embraces the technology of computers and video to update and re-radicalise the century old practices of collage, but it is also historically astute, connecting and rewriting its references for a multi–layered field of multi-temporal relevance. A work in progress is Last Days of the Crab Nebula that the duo explains is “...an experimental found footage work that explores the radical potentialities of the cut-up as a weapon for sabotaging social control machinery.” It riffs on Burroughs’s cut up novels The Nova Trilogy retrofitting the beat poet’s vision for the coming world. Of course, Burroughs had already been to the future, and Soda_Jerk are excavating what is still to be found. And it has a revolutionary purpose. As Burroughs himself put it: “Prisoners of the Earth come out, storm the studio....”

Text by Andrew Frost, a Sydney based art critic, writer, academic and broadcaster, who contributes to a variety of national and international publications.

2012 Australia Council for the Arts’ and Anne & Gordon Samstag ISCP Residency (New York, USA) 

Artist's website: www.sodajerk.com.au


Samstag Museum of Art, University of South Australia, acknowledges the Kaurna people as traditional custodians of the land upon which the Museum stands.