Danny Perez and Animal Collective Go Inside the Womb


Filmmaker and live-cinema artist Danny Perez is currently touring the country with the band Animal Collective, screening their four-years-in-the-making collaboration, a “visual album” titled Oddsac.  This week, the 60-minute abstract film, which premiered at Sundance in January, pulled into town for a series of sold-out shows at the Visual Arts Theater in advance of a digital release later this year. Perez and his musical collaborators will then mount a one-night-only site-specific installation called Transverse Temporal Gyrus, incorporating video and recorded music (no, the band will not be playing) inside the rotunda of the Guggenheim this Thursday night. It’s an enviable opportunity for any artist, most especially as the museum’s walls are completely bare as part of its Tino Sehgal and Contemplating the Void exhibitions.

NICK HALLETT: Apparently tickets for this event sold out in minutes. Without giving away too much, can you let those of us out there who will not be in attendance a little about what we’re missing?

DANNY PEREZ: I think it’s an opportunity to experience a complete environment that is often devoid in certain spaces like galleries and museums. Often you’ll find elements mounted on white walls or arranged in a group show that lack cohesion and scope. We tried to avoid that and stimulate the eye with various textures, aural and physical, into a solid environment. Also, a crazy amount of work has gone into the production in a short amount of time, so there will be something miraculous about it.

HALLETT: How do you conceptualize that space, the Guggenheim interior?

PEREZ: I like the vertical spiral. It helps to provide a physical movement that will reinforce a lot of our effects. We’ve spoken a lot about caves and dark interior spaces and the entities that occupy them, whether its a creature, sound, or even wetness.

HALLETT: Is anything in particular serving as your inspiration?

PEREZ: I’m reminded of a low-scale abortion clinic in my neighborhood where the main practitioner is being charged with various counts of gross misconduct, the idea of the ultimate womb being damaged by what it was creating…

HALLETT: When you work on projects with Animal Collective, is your process as artified and integrated as what’s on the table for this installation? Or do they write the music and you make the cinema?

PEREZ: It’s pretty straightforward as far as me making visuals for their music. With Oddsac, it was a much more elaborate collaboration as far as working off each other.  For this event, we’re shaking it off our backs and trying to move forward. It’s nice that we’ve been able to work on these projects where ideas can be more free.