Conor Bateman
July 23, 2019 — By Conor Bateman


A video work commissioned for Prototype, an online Australian video art project curated by Lauren Carroll Harris.

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“Conor Bateman has sliced clips from (mainly American) horror films in which a cinema audience is slain schlockily in a theatre – an overlooked, self-reflexive trope across the genre. In each sequence, the screen is masked out to reveal the prior sequence: each audience is successively watching the killings that we, the actual audience, have just seen. The onscreen audience never leaves the theatre – there’s nowhere else in this world beyond the cinema, and the scenes of entrapment and containment play out in similarly-framed spaces of chaos (what if what we watched onscreen leaked out?). Without a scrap of ideology-addled earnestness, the tone moves from playful to inevitable. Like a game, it all loops together in an oddly fun, self-sustaining spiral of dramatic irony. I hope it never ends.” – Lauren Carroll Harris

“Just when you think the supercut has worn out its welcome, this ingenious compilation takes an odd trope – horror scenes set in movie theatres – and with the help of resourceful post-production effects, creates a chain of spectatorial terror mean to play in an endless loop. In the post-cinema era, this study of screening room terrors resonates as a poignant historiography.” – Kevin B. Lee

“A mirror maze of horror films where the action takes place in a cinema, this film shows us characters who watch others suffer a horrible death next to a cinema screen before suffering themselves from an equally tragic fate. It is less similar to Godard’s evocative scenes set in cinemas or Purple Rose of Cairo-type homages and closer to David Cronenberg’s wry short contribution for To Each His Own Cinema. When films and thrills become the only thing that those characters are inhaling, there is no moment to breathe out.” – Irina Trocan

“…[a] self-sustaining nightmare of cinema horror and spectator consumption.” – Philippa Hawker, The Australian