Faulty Optic, Darwin’s Dead Herring

Review in Issue 5-2 | Summer 1993

A text-free animated exploration of theories of creation that seemed to come down as far on the side of Darwin as its ultimately nihilist absurd comedy would allow, Darwin’s Dead Herring tells a Promethean tale of an aberration created in a bug-eyed God’s cottage Creation industry by a disaffected lieutenant. This spanner in the quirky works leads to a sexual revolution reminiscent of the fall from grace of Adam and Eve; the collapse of a saccharine fluffy-bunny-filled world view; and the subsequent emergence of a truer humanity. It says a lot about the deep feeling for humanity in this show that our sympathies lie with the characters whose faces are stitched together like something from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Unlike recent trends in the visual arts the hand of the maker is very much apparent and indeed a major theme of the piece. While the mass-produced bunnies were whirred and jerked by mysterious systems of mechanics, the ‘Texans’ were visibly manipulated by puppeteers whose faces reflected the effort and emotion with which they imbued their creations. The awesome Godhead character, cobbled together with a staple gun, reflected the methods of his makers whose stage environment is thrown together from jumble to form a whizzing, wheezing garden-shed-Blade Runner aesthetic. This stage picture is so idiosyncratic that it cannot satisfy every demand but it should provide plenty of wonder for any audience.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Jan 1993

This article in the magazine

Issue 5-2
p. 15