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In the Soup

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"Underwater we are really related," says Swiss video artist Pipilotti Rist, whose installation Sip My Ocean projects shots of underwater scenery into a darkened corner on the third floor of the new Museum of Contemporary Art. "People tell me it feels real familiar."

With Rorschach-style symmetry, the floor-to-ceiling vista shows a kaleidoscopic image of Rist in a canary yellow bikini cavorting in the Red Sea. Brightly colored props--a tiny plastic baby, a mirror, a small TV set--occasionally float past her lens in the sun-dappled water. The sound track of this wryly erotic yet strangely unsettling siren call features Rist crooning a weird rendition of the Chris Isaak tune "Wicked Game."

Now on her first visit to the U.S., Rist says she's puzzled by the contrast between the passivity of American crowds and the unbridled egotism displayed on television talk shows, newscasts, and advertising. "It's unbelievable," she says. "You watch TV and they have no moral. It's kind of evil with absolutely no shame." Rist thinks video artists have it easy. "To understand video, it's fine if you just watch enough TV."

Rist will talk about her work and contemporary film at 6 PM this Wednesday in the first-floor theater of the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago. Tickets are $8, $6 for students and seniors. Call 397-4010.

--Bill Stamets

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Two photos by Pipilotti Rist.

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