LOS ANGELES — “You would have to be half-mad to dream me up,” the Mad Hatter said to Alice during her romp through Wonderland, that place where her body and state-of-mind regularly changed shaped. In this fantastical landscape from Lewis Carroll’s 1865 novelAlice’s Adventures in Wonderland, everyone is mad, no one can explain themselves because they aren’t themselves, you see, and it’s most likely always tea time. Artist Claudia Hart, whose practice spans visual, virtual, digital and performative aesthetic realms, seems not only enchanted but obsessed with returning to Alice quite often in her art practice. In 2013, at the Arts Club of Chicago, her one-act sculptural opera The Alices created an atmosphere rife with screen-induced reflections and refractions.
Six variously gendered Alices wear white dresses and sit a table looking at the Nue Morte(2013) augmented reality app on iPhones positioned above china plates. Instead of food, they see a woman’s torso with insects crawling all over it. Duplicates of each other and the original Alice herself, they do not wait for the Mad Hatter to return; in fact, he’s not around at all, and it’s unclear whether he even knows of this technosurrealist Wonderland. Alice returned again in 2014 at Eyebeam — but this time, the Alices walked in costumes that looked like they’d been ripped from a visually overloaded, GIF-filled Tumblr stream.
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