Review: Mark Templeton + Kyle Armstrong – Extensions

Mark Templeton + Kyle Armstrong - ExtensionsI’ve opened a door I shouldn’t have. The world is now rushing at me quicker than my brain can process it, with magma flow flickering out of hue as I stall under the weight of information in excess. Sensory data hits me like the pressurised output of a hose. Horizons lines fracture and fold into eachother, rocket thrusters pour light into my eyes, submarine sonar dialogues occur over seas of vinyl scratch and misplaced breath. The planet is a shattered mosaic. This collaboration between Mark Templeton (audio) and Kyle Armstrong (video) is based on the work of media scholar Marshall McLuhan, whose quotes appear throughout the film as black, interjectory stills coupled by silence and urgently red or blue text:

“In an age of multiple and massive innovations, obsolescence becomes the major obsession.”

This particular quote flashes up after a string orchestra is heard flickering, like a dying light bulb, to the inevitable end of its lifespan. Throughout much of the piece I feel as though I’ve been catapulted into the sky, where the passing of time and my sense of location are ruptured by an onslaught of motion and sudden weightlessness; lens flare dances with faint human silhouettes and a background of dimly burning moonlight, soft and disturbing, while estranged locked grooves ride the rims of toppling metal pans.

“Myth is truth in hyperspeed.”

Perhaps this is what the world feels like when the connection between technology and human perception thickens before the body is ready for it. Extensions is a melancholic, technicolor force-feeding – a catalogue of things dying or falling into horrible lifeless limbo, of natural life repainted beyond recognition, of sonic artefact falling down a funnel of tampered chronology and fictitious acoustic space. And yet it’s not only the sounds and images that scare me. The piece is riddled with the blemishes of analogue mediums, be it vinyl pops or the alien bacterium that scatter upon degrading film reel. I fear that these blemishes still exist in the digital age, albeit insidiously closer to our skin.