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Ted Victoria: Only the Object is Real
by Joyce Beckenstein

Last Halloween, new tenants—multi-limbed, vermin-like aliens with transparent bodies—moved into the 1783 Old Façade Building of the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut. The three-story administration building, its windows aglow with swarming creatures, provided the setting for Infestation, an installation by New York artist Ted Victoria. Known for his projections and illusionistic light systems, Victoria created the jaw-dropping environment for the museum’s Main Street Sculpture Project. This eerie mirage of thousands of spidery critters commandeering an entire building—conspicuously swimming, dining, mating, and birthing—was as humorous in its oblique references to political and social issues of privacy and prejudice as it was spooky. But these vermin were merely innocent brine shrimp, fish food (available live or marketed as sea monkeys, dried eggs that hatch in saline solution). Victoria discovered them years ago when he went to a local pet store to buy koi food. Since then, he has used fish food as food for art.

Is Anyone Home?, 2009.
Projections of live sea monkeys in modified greenhouse, installation view.

Image: Courtesy Schroeder Romero Gallery, Chelsea, NY.


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