Speculum, 2019

Colour video loop triptych 4k
Length: 3 minutes

A digital triptych inspired by Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights, SPECULUM is a mirror of the present day. Always-on technology, ubiquitous branding, environmental collapse; SMACK call out contemporary ills using 3D animation and shrewd references to popular culture.

Hieronymus Bosch for the digital age

SPECULUM comprises three panels — Eden, Paradise and Hell — and is the result of a three-year project initiated in 2016. As part of the Hieronymus Bosch 500-year anniversary, the Stedelijk Museum Breda (formerly the Museum of the Image / MOTI) commissioned SMACK to create an artwork after The Garden of Earthly Delights. The result was Paradise, based on the central panel of Bosch’s masterpiece.

 While lust takes centre stage in the original artwork, SMACK’s Paradise calls out the excesses of 21st-century society. Sex is ever-present, with rows of penis-horse riders circling mid-screen; branded packaging blights the landscape, while in the foreground a Gangnam Style dancer seeks thumbs up approval. This is a garden of superegos, where each self-obsessed character is locked inside their own loop.

From Paradise to SPECULUM

With support from ONKAOS, SMACK built on the success of Paradise to develop the side panels, Eden and Hell, completing SPECULUM in 2019.

Eden is described by SMACK as “Silicon Valley inside out,” an oasis of pastel-coloured calm reminiscent of an amusement park about to open. Hell, meanwhile, is a projection of our deepest fears, where hashtags and surveillance cameras populate a landscape of everlasting tortures.

SPECULUM forms part of the permanent holdings of Colección SOLO and is displayed at the collection’s private museum, Espacio SOLO, Madrid.