Monica Cook: Volley

Monica Cook’s “Volley” consists of a stop-animation video, and a group of moveable sculptures and photographs. In “Volley” a series of intimate narrative vignettes takes place in a world of human-like cave dwelling monkeys. Tender, expressive, attractive and repulsive all at once they live, love, dream, and die. The video is hard to watch and at the same time impossible to stop watching.

Animation is a form of magic because movement is a sign of life. To endow a creature with the power of motion is to bring it, partially, imperfectly, to life. Monica Cook’s monkey-creatures are animated by some very wild magic. Cursed by their creator with deeply corrupted bodies, with scarred skin and secret interiors, with pustules and orifices and inconvenient fluids, these creatures are uncomfortably, undeniably alive. And in their imperfection, they are not only individual, they are beautiful. Volley is a love story, in a sense it is the Love Story, that grand tale which we never cease to applaud: The brutality of biological lust tempered by the delicate delusions of adoration. Cook’s beast-beings inhabit a world the colors of spun sugar and wedding mints, where rutting lust and infinite tenderness are indivisible. A mutant monkey with too-human eyes strokes a contented wolf-puppy who dreams of devouring entrails. A perfect luminous monkey-goddess hovers unapproachably, bedecked in lewd sequins. Idealized passions fuse with the violence of birth. Cook renders the sufferings and storms of biological life with loving, unflinching regard, inviting the viewer to both voyeurism and self-reflection.

“It’s tempting to call the film sweet and captivating, except that it is simultaneously repulsive and disturbing. The monkeys are pockmarked with surreal, iridescent growths. We are confronted with bodily functions of fluid and flesh that accompany the typically romanticized themes of love and animal connection. Even more disconcerting is that these terrifying-looking monkeys move and act in a way that reminds us of ourselves. It’s unsettling to think that our bodies have anything in common with these bodies”.-Wyatt Williams

Information located at and accessed on 21/01/12.


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