I’m disoriented by the angles and frightened by the decor. I have full control but feel utterly helpless. Strange, amphibious bipeds glaring into my soul, my status as a person with flesh surely damning me to doom. Then I realize: I’m just the camera, and this is just a recording: an omni-directional, virtual reality unboxing video from a carnivorous, yet festive, species. It’s so unexpected but what’s to be expected from our 2015′s Best Absurdist, Nick “DJ REAL” Stargu.
(St.) Nick, a Comedian You Should Know, is multi-talented and multi-directional auteur of oddities, known for tackling music and film with a trademark flare for outrageous, wonky, but goodnatured humor. At his monthly show Pitch!, he flexed his imagination to its conceptual core with prototypes of TV shows, video games, and, most fitting, virtual reality.
Nick was one of the first people I knew with an Occulus Rift. He even tinkered with it for Pitch. While you and I see it as a hopefully refined end-user-coddling media platform, Stargu and co-director Doug Garth Williams use it as a platform for their style of strange, enlisting the help of Scott Vermeire and Mary Van Note… with something not only unconventional—as they’re wont to do—but that also reflects a genius, meta and familiar trope: home video and daddy dorkdom.
All dads were made for invasive, corny documenting with overly expensive—but earned gotdamnnit!—new, not-completely-understood technology. My father, an amateur photographer, often put our family through the paces, contorting bodies and faces for the perfect shot, always in the spirit of playing with their new lens, or new tripod. It was awkward, often troubled with difficulties, much like the technological kinks of budding virtuality reality. But the intent is special, inspired, and loving. At least, that’s what I get from this nightmarish video, seen below. Watch it, because even if it doesn’t work as it should, it works.