Bridge Visitor's subject matter relates to what is known as a "legend-trip" in folkloric studies. In this case the legend-trip refers to the ritualized journeys taken by teenagers to "spooky" locales in search of darker knowledge. The tape plays with various adolescent infatuations with Satan. Two examples culled from Mike Kelley's own youth include divination through the melted remnants of plastic garbage bags burned ceremoniously at parties and the fire bombing of a country bridge to invoke a spirit. Various juvenile tropes are featured in the tape and are laid out in the following sections: The invocation of Satan: a fire bomb is tossed onto a rural bridge at night. The voice of Satan: a burning "zilch bag" produces an eerie vocal sound. He who has no form: the appearance of morphing reflections of the face of death. The creator/destroyer of worlds: juvenile fantasies of power are projected upon the changing continent-like forms of urine suds. The dweller in the depths: a camera is sent down to explore the underworld of Kelley's studio. The multi-face of evil: various random blob-like forms produced by the melting "zilch bag" are presented as symbolic examples of the myriad forms of evil in the world.
The tape is made up of three sections: initiation, fulfillment and retrospection. "Initiation" is the tape's opening invocation of Satan; "fulfillment" is the central section made up of "portraits" of Satan, and "retrospection" is the final reiteration of the invocation in which the artist appears in the guise of Satan.
-- New York Video Festival Program Notes, 2005.
Bridge Visitor (Legend-Trip) was made for the exhibition "100 Artists See Satan," organized by Cal State Fullerton in response to an ICI exhibit (curated by John Baldessari and Meg Cranston) "100 Artists See God," which included work by Kelley.
Mike Kelley, 2004. Edited and Mixed by Mike Kelley and Scott Benzel. Additional Editing: Molly Fitzjarrald. Technical assistants: Abel McHone, Thomas Rugani, Mary Clare Stevens.
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