'FANTASTIC PRAYERS' is a collaboration of writer Constance DeJong, artist Tony Oursler, and musician/composer Stephen Vitiello, is a work that has had three unique incarnations. The project was originally conceived as a live performance which took place in Dan Graham's Rooftop Urban Park Project in Spring of 1995. Simultaneous to developing the performance, the artists created Fantastic Prayers, a web project, for Dia's then brand new web site which launched March 31, 1995. This project was developed for Netscape 1.1.
Fantastic Prayers has since evolved, through the continued collaborations of the three artists, into one of Dia's most experimental and innovative initiatives. Fantastic Prayers, the CD-Rom, was completed in June, 2000.
Culminating a five-year collaboration by three artists to produce an experimental work of art in digital media, Dia Center for the Arts announces the release of Fantastic Prayers, an interactive CD-ROM. Created by writer-performer Constance De Jong, artist Tony Oursler, and composer Stephen Vitiello, Fantastic Prayers offers a mesmerizing series of illusory environments explored through text, image, and sound. The artists' use of CD-ROM technology allows an art-viewing experience unlike that of any other media; the artwork is ever-changing, individualized for each viewer and visit, and independent of the limits of time and location.
Fantastic Prayers features appearances by Vito Acconci, DAVID BOWIE, Kim Gordon, Mike Kelley, Tracy Leipold, Julia Scher, and many others. It was produced by Dia Center for the Arts and Prop Foundation.
Fantastic Prayers examines an urban landscape redolent with memories of people, places, and objects. As its eight magical environments open up on a viewer's personal computer, the CD-ROM provides an experience that is both intimate and gamelike. Like a game of Solitaire, Fantastic Prayers can unravel in a multitude of variations unconstrained by skill or intention.
Specifically, the CD-ROM invites the user to uncover fragmentary narratives laden with physical and psychological histories. In one environment, a virtual Graveyard, excavation with a computer mouse reveals a screaming ghost played by Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth, while an accidental click of the mouse uncovers David Bowie in a cameo appearance as the "flower director." Rolling one's mouse through the scene "Ludlow Street" exposes a series of snapshots of a New York City street where daily routines unfold as mini-dramas. In "Empathy Wheel," the viewer plays a video game with the emotions of actress Tracy Leipold. In the segment named "Jacket," a simple charcoal drawing "cuts" to vivid stories of lives past and present, including a cinematic collage narrated by a young Indian boy who loves film. Interwoven with these sections are others entitled "The Place Where Lost Things Go," "Hair," "Natatorium," and "Walls That Speak." Videos, animations, sounds, activities, words, subscreens, and links layer these immersive environments, ensuring a complex and often accidental array of opportunities and juxtapositions.
Dia and the artists will celebrate the publication of the Fantastic Prayers CD-ROM on October 5th at 7:30pm with a party in Dia's 545 West 22nd Street gallery in New York City. The artists will present an arcade of video projections of the CD-ROM with which partygoers will be invited to play; Stephen Vitiello will accompany these scenes with music. The public is invited free of charge.
Fantastic Prayers was released in July 2000. It retails at $39.95 and may be purchased at Dia Center for the Arts or on the web at www.diacenter.org/fprayers.
Thanks to Tom Boom from EnoWeb for the pointer.