About this artwork
This site-specific installation by Los Angeles-based artist Martine Syms is the first sitcom episode from the artist’s proposed series SHE MAD. Laughing Gas was a 1907 silent film by Edwin Porter, which follows Mandy, played by Bertha Regustus, as she moves through the world laughing uncontrollably after receiving nitrous oxide at the dentist’s office. Syms reimagines Porter’s film today with the artist performing the role of “Martine” in a sequence of improvised vignettes. Shot on multiple formats, and including security camera split screens, found clips, and internet GIFs, these scenes reflect Syms’s multimedia practice and interests in cinema, American pop culture, black aesthetics, and semiotics. The text “Believe Me” appears both in the video and painted on the gallery wall as an extended caption. The laser-cut panel features an image of Regustus, shadows cast by a cucoloris cut-out pattern—a film and theater lighting device—and an article of the artist’s clothing.
- Currently Off View
- Contemporary Art
- Martine Syms
- SHE MAD: Laughing Gas
- 4-channel digital video installation, color, sound, wall painting, laser cut acrylic, artist’s clothes; 6 min. 59 sec.; edition 4 of 5 plus 1 artist’s proof
- Contemporary Art Purchase Fund