AP Komen / Karen Murphy

AP Komen / Karen Murphy - Vane

AP Komen / Karen Murphy, Too much reality, installation, 2003

In their storytelling, AP Komen and Karen Murphy manipulate narrative time in order to create a sense of psychological realism, promoting a visceral way of seeing in which other people, our relationships, the ordinary world and its sensations, remain a part of us even as we move around in less familiar spaces.

Partially documentary, the installation, Too Much Reality is based on the artists’ script that at moments escapes the straightjacket of the factual. A linear story opens with a monologue spoken by a man: “A while ago, a friend of mine returned from a trip to South East Asia. He’d been travelling for six months through Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Malaysia. He wanted to end his trip with a few weeks relaxing on a beach. He headed for a small island, just off the coast of Cambodia. When he got there, the only available place to stay was a wooden hut, built against the side of a mountain and overlooking the sea. Hut number 13.”

From this point the story unfolds as the viewer encounters the travellers who live on this beach. Komen and Murphy asked each of their protagonists to spend one night in the hut with a video camera.

The viewer is exposed to the very real sadness and desperation of the characters on the beach that have opted out from reality, losing themselves in sex, alcohol and drugs. The artists bring us closer to their narrative with the inclusion of an actual size beach hut – an exact replica of the one used in the filming of their DVD. Their filmic techniques – manipulation of dialogue, imagery, colour and sound – satisfy our desire for facts and explanations, while the documentary storytelling fulfils our need for consolation or escape from existential bewilderment.