County Down is a multi-platform project, combining web-based elements, a video installation, and a 70-minute feature film component. County Down explores an epidemic of psychosis among the adults in a gated community, brought on by a teenage girl’s invention of a designer drug. Mirroring rave culture and the unbridled optimism around technology during the 1990s, County Down presents a society so obsessed with novelty and consumerism that it euphorically embraces its own destruction. The film uses the structure of youth-culture media products, such as horror and science fiction movies, video games, and coming-of-age films as a barometer of cultural depression. In this live-action animation, reality and illusion intermingle, creating a highly stylized world of visual excess.
The multi-generational cast of downtown performers and artists includes: Chloe Bass, Becca Blackwell, Ellen Cantor, Patty Chang, Marti Domination, Nicole Eisenman, Jim Fletcher (New York City Players), James Fotopoulos, Gibson Frazier, Daniel Graff, Andy Haynes, Stephane Mangloire, William Powhida, Emily Roysdon, Kate Valk (Wooster Group), Stephanie Vella, and Sacha Yanow. The soundtrack and musical arrangements are by Johanna Fateman (Le Tigre); and also include music by JD Samson (Men, Le Tigre), Wynne Greenwood (Tracy and the Plastics), Long Hind Legs, and Lesbians On Ecstasy. Costumes and styling are by GGrippo.
The installation version includes eleven life-size cut out photographs (shot by Alice O’Malley). The cast of characters face visitors at the entrance of the space. In full makeup and costume, the cast creates a maze through which visitors must pass. A display case features early scripts and product development sketches, production materials such as green-screen stills and costume elements, providing a glimpse into the process of making County Down (initially titled Angel’s Appetite).
Throughout the exhibition there will be a series of events:
September 25, 7pm - Gravity and Grace, Chris Kraus' legendary film that inspired her writing career, with an introduction by Jim Fletcher.
October 1, 7pm - Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, a screening and panel discussion about the quintessential 70's series that anticipates the future of television, with Claire Barliant, Michael Martin and more.
County Down is the story of Angel, a teenage resident of a gated community. She develops a designer drug with potentially apocalyptic side effects. The drug, called Quix, is the ultimate consumer product, highly addictive and cheap to produce. This substance is a relative of ergot, a rye contaminate responsible for St. Anthony’s Fire, inducing symptoms that include hallucinations and gangrene. It is also the fungus from which LSD is derived. Those that ingest the drug develop immunity but become unwitting carriers. Angel holds the key to the outbreak and its prevention – but her own debilitating addiction to both the drug and her self-made success clouds her judgment. Angel is intoxicated with power and enraptured by the disaster she set in motion. As Angel’s friends band together to fight the infected adults, their social order becomes more and more distorted. Consumption becomes addiction, which, in turn, hastens the spread of disease. As the authorities close in, Angel clings to her delusions ferociously.
Laura Parnes received her BFA from the Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia in 1990. She has had solo exhibitions at LAXArt, Los Angeles, Alma Enterprises, London, Locust Projects, Miami, Upstream Gallery, Amsterdam, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles, Participant Inc., New York, Deitch Projects, New York and solo screenings at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and The Kitchen, New York. She has screened and exhibited her work widely in the US and internationally, including The International Film Festival Rotterdam, Rotterdam, LOOP Festival, Barcelona, Kunsthalle Winterthur, Winterthur, Overgaden-Institute for Contemporary Art, Copenhagen, iMOCA, Indianapolis, Contemporary Art Center, Vilnius, Museo Nacional Centro De Arte Reina, Sofia, and the Whitney Museum of American Art (1997 Whitney Biennial), New York. She is a 2013 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellow and has lectured as a visiting artist at numerous institutions. Parnes lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
Laura Parnes: County Down is made possible with support from the Experimental Television Center, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and the Outpost’s Cuts and Burns Residency Program, Ridgewood, NY.
County Down will be on view September 8, 2013 through October 20, 2013 with an opening reception on Sunday, September 8 from 6pm - 8pm. Each day at 4:30pm, the film will be restarted. On September 25, at 7pm, will be a screening of Chris Kraus's film Gravity & Grace and on October 1, at 7pm, will be Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, a screening and panel discussion. Beginning in September, Fitzroy Gallery will be open to the public Wednesday through Saturday from 11am - 6pm and Sunday from 12pm - 6pm. For further inquires, please contact the gallery at 212.343.8670, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.fitzroygallery.com.