Art on DMT

Exploring the space between life and death with psychedelic artists from Latin America

99% Cotton_07_AuroraPellizzi

In the heart of Crackland, aka São Paolo’s notorious República district, where the streets seethe with drug addicts after a 10p hit of rock, video artist and photographer Supercondensador is living inside the scenes which his laconic, portentous works depict. Supercondensador’s debut film, ‘Aqui a Gravidade e Outra’ (Here the Gravity is Another) projected inside an installation of everyday detritus as part of an acclaimed group show in the city last year, recreates the kind of psychedelic experience that one can only have in the post-apocalyptic metropolis. 

Supercondensador’s rough-cut glitching technique and loops are combined with spectral beating drum refrains, recorded in a viaduct to emulate the noise of internal mental disturbance. It’s neo-shamanism, conjuring the space between life and death and underpins an ongoing shift in the iconography of psychedelia. Happy-clappers on LSD have been replaced with gold-toothed rappers and neon-sheathed Disney kids smoking DMT. It’s not art that needs to be interpreted intellectually, but felt subliminally. 

At the New York's Spring/Break Art Show a few short weeks ago, Dario Argento and DMT were top of the artists’ pinterests. Among 80 emerging artists exhibiting, New York-based, Mexican-born Aurora Pellizzi presented a psychotropic four-channel video piece, reminiscent of the “patterned grid world” Flying Lotus describes below. Pellizzi’s work has an unusual synaesthetic quality, each film a slow moving shot over painted fabrics. Combining digital and analogue effects, as well as traditional and modern ideas on the psychedelic aesthetic - recent works are inspired by visual experiences of indigenous artists taking Ayahuasca, brightly coloured renderings of spirits, trees, and animals. But they are also unusual in that their movement is important, yet they don’t lead anywhere, nor do they ever meet nor their patterns converge. Their non-linear narrative points to the same space summoned in Supercondensador’s portraits of modern psilocybin trips: the near-infinite, where ‘life and death are no longer opposed – one simply is, and the other, isn’t’. 

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