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The dirt on the Dream Kitchen

Joni Taylor


Leon Cmielewski & Josephine Starrs, Dream Kitchen Leon Cmielewski & Josephine Starrs, Dream Kitchen
It’s getting DIRTY in domestic land. QUICK, the housewife is hiding something under her apron. Afraid of creepy crawlies? “Domestic bliss” spray should get rid of them…for a moment.Dream Kitchen places itself between interaction and animation. While some aspects demand immediate action, other sections are watched as events evolve and mutate. The cursor is the only indication of any entry points.

The Dream Kitchen is clean. Melamine, minimal, there’s a bowl of fruit. It’s not contemporary flash but enough mod cons for the average homeowner. But the “player” is not the owner but a secret visitor, furtive, airborne and easily passed by.

There’s a quick panic tour. Like an out of control camcorder the effects are dizzily sped up. Seen from below the fridge, towering monolithic stools ascend and giant telephones ring incessantly.

First stop is under the Fridge where inanimate objects take on evil lives of their own. Here pencils turn to pens, and under militant conditions there are burnings at the stake to the chanting of the masses…

The kitchen is getting dirtier. Next stop the Sink. Down the plughole and the pipes reveal a floating dreamworld of garbage, underwater sounds, no air only the throbbing pressure against your skull. Rollovers reveal the floating rubbish transforming slowly (very slowly) into an evil garbage man…recycled scarecrow boy made from the detritus of Aussie junk, Tetra pack shoulder blade, Maccas thickshake arms…

And it gets dirtier...Don’t put your fingers in the open Socket…inside reveals a world of cables and uncut wires. Tearing electrocuted screams fry the eardrums, sexual tension between the penetrative and penetrating plugs.

Under the Oven is a cardboard world. Scuffle around it to reveal the macabre forgottens, the dead and decaying. A Frog, a mutant Bug and a decayed Rat with a secret are the specimens to be tampered with. Electrodes, clamps, razor blades and X-rays are all at your disposal. Furtively you experiment to the sounds of electro shocks and metal scraping, but someone is examining you…under the oven no-one can hear your screams…

Dirt. Dirty phone calls. Phoning incessantly finally allows you in. It reveals an Orwellian landscape of clandestine kitchen scenes. The cold metal conductor transforms into an all seeing TV drome. Twenty degraded surveillance images of the Dream Kitchen now filled with debauchery and violence. Broomstick mounted housewife looks down on bondaged victim, the sounds of crossed and interrupted lines, la la land over the airwaves, over and out kind of stuff.

The Dream Kitchen is now disgusting. Oily patches seep from the floorboards, filthy drips line the fridge, dirty phone calls, unanswered message stumps peel off the wall. There are ghosts in these machines, and they’re all ours. Play another game?


Leon Cmielewski and Josephine Starrs, Dream Kitchen, CD-ROM, programming Adam Hinshaw, sound Panos Couros, produced and developed with the support of the Australian Film Commission and in co-production with the Banff Centre for the Arts, Alberta, Canada, with assistance from the Australia Council.

RealTime issue #37 June-July 2000 pg. 22

© Joni Taylor; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

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