- Simi, at Season.
With each rock, he presses a button to turn on and off a spotlight that casts him in a bright circle of light. While this is going on, he's drinking a bottle of Nyquil and a bottle of Dayquil, routed to his mouth by a beer-hat-like contraption attached to the Darth Vader mask.
He tries to keep the rhythm of the rocking and the light synchronized, but it's not easy once the medicine kicks in. He lurches forward, tips to one side, rights himself.
His pupils never get a chance to dilate, so in each flash of light his gaze is glassy. He's a parody, via Darth Vader and Grandma Moses, of self-punishing American performance artists like Chris Burden or Gary Hill. (In Hill's 2000 video Wall Piece, owned by the Henry Art Gallery, the artist, wearing a suit, utters each word of a text while throwing himself against a wall as a strobe light flashes.)
But he's not just funny. He's mesmerizingly funny. And he's not acting. He's really drinking the awful stuff while trying to abide by preset choreography, like a medicine man putting himself through a ceremony. Simi is a youngish artist, someone who came of age during the Bush years, when the president's rhetoric about the United States depended on the simpleton's contrast between "good" and "evil." Simi's silly video is also a meditation on the zone that exists beyond clarity.