Duncan MacKenzie. The World’s Largest Zombie Group Hug. Mixed Media, 2004, in In Praise of Nonsense by Ted Hiebert
Consider the work of Duncan MacKenzie, which presents and represents precisely a modeled real, a narrative and imaginative reality that is not in competition with an objective world-map because it never cared to mistake itself as real in the first place. Instead, here the nuances of imaginative rendering emerge in full force – a zombie group hug for those beyond the deadly clutches of sanctioned or political voice. Zombies are used to illustrate a stage of simulation that has entirely receded into its own immortal fantasy; not born again, but undead – a premature burial of multiplicity that escapes its fate by acknowledging the inherently morbid humour in all things imaginary. Like the forest that has ironically fallen over – we know the adage about a single tree falling, but what sound might an entire forest make? The coyote’s howl becomes indistinguishable from the hyena’s laugh – werewolf cries that reinforce the fact that we have all been bitten already. Finally, the death march of the real is replaced by the imaginary horizons of contemporary living. The vertigo of interpretation becomes, inevitably, an interpretation of vertigo.
Excerpted from In Praise of Nonsense: Aesthetics, Uncertainty, and Postmodern Identity by Ted Hiebert