The thing dancing in this video is not a person. It's a humanoid installation piece, featuring facial recognition technology that allows it to focus on and follow you with its gaze. And yes, it is freaky as all hell.
On display March 6 – April 19 at David Zwirner Art Gallery in NYC, the unnamed doll is the work of artist Jordan Wolfson, who created the figure in collaboration with creature effects studio Spectral Motion.
There's not a lot about this thing that isn't creepy. There's the metal pole running through its sternum. Its voice (which is actually Wolfson's). The sooty grime smeared across its buttocks, thighs, knees and chest. The version of "Blurred Lines" playing in the background that sounds like it's being performed through a vat of molasses. The gaze that locks onto you and doesn't let go. That mask.
Then, of course, there are the fingers.
I'm not having a lot of luck digging up details on this thing. Wolfson's exhibit page on the David Zwirner Gallery's website describes the sculpture as "a major development in [Wolfson's] practice." Apart from that, the most information I can find comes from a writeup by Rosalia Jovanovic over at BLOUINARTINFO. (The article's dated March 4th, but it appears to have been deleted or moved since then. Here's the cached version.) It begins:
"I don't want to tell you this work is about women," said artist Jordan Wolfson over the phone, "because I don't think that's true." Wolfson, a 33-year-old artist who works in video, performance, and sculpture, was on a lunch break at a special effects studio in Los Angeles where he was developing his latest work, an animatronic sculptural woman that will be on display at David Zwirner gallery, engaging with visitors one-on-one beginning March 6. Despite his statement, the doll is the result of an attempt, "in a way," to explore the gaze, a concept with psychoanalytical roots that is most associated with the feminist notion of gender power imbalance that occurs in film, renaissance painting, and other media when viewers are asked to identify with the male perspective, and hence the objectification of women. What happens when the gaze is held by the sexual object?
Nightmares, that's what.