About the Book
LEGACY OF HALFLIFERS was an exhibition presented in Chicago's Gallery 400 in the Summer of 2013. The show moved beyond the retrospective
format to re-examine, interpret, and pay homage to the extensive body of performative videos that HALFLIFERS—the collaborative team of Torsten Zenas Burns and Anthony Discenza—has produced since the early 1990s. Burns (Holyoke, MA, b. 1968) and Discenza (San Francisco, b. 1967) took the name HALFLIFERS from the Philip K. Dick novel Ubik, in which Dick uses the term “half-life” to refer to an alternate reality that dead characters experience while in a state of cryogenic suspension. This condition of a phantom reality has been integral to HALFLIFERS’ ongoing explorations, in which speculative fiction operates as a sublimated present, imbued heavily with the psychological weight therein.
Five years later this living catalogue documents all of the invited participants art projects, interview texts, media screenings and performance events taking place during the exhibition run. HALFLIFERS is also really excited to finally share three new writing projects by Jordan Biren, Steve Seid and Jim Supanick.
Artists and special projects:
23E Laboratories, Jason Robert Bell, James Fotopoulos, Kari Gatzke, HALFLIFERS, Lauren Marsden, Jennifer and Kevin McCoy, Bjørn Melhus, Shana Moulton, Jennet Thomas, Abina Manning, George Pfau, Eric May + Rimas Simaitis, Caspar Stracke and MASTERS OF TIME AND SPACE.
Special thanks to: Lorelei Stewart, Karen Greenwalt and the Gallery 400 staff.
Torsten Zenas Burns is an artist and media arts educator currently based in Beijing, China. Since 2008 he has been curating exhibitions, video screenings, performance art and magazine projects for PARSONS HALL PROJECT SPACE in Western Massachusetts. He received his BFA in video art in 1990 from the New York State College of Art & Design at Alfred University, and his MFA in New Genres: video and performance art from The San Francisco Art Institute in 1993. He has created video, photo and installations exploring speculative content, including re-imagined educational practices, experimental space programs, afterlife relationships and post-human fictions. He collaborates with Darrin Martin, Monika Czyzyk and Anthony Discenza (HALFLIFERS). Burns' selected video work is distributed by Vtape, VDB, and EAI. Burns participated in residency programs including Headlands Center for the Arts, Signal Culture, Smackmellon, Eyebeam and LMCC World views studio program.