Julia Scher Wonderland, 1998
Mixed media installation
Immersed in a theatrical pink and purple light atmosphere, Julia Scher’s Wonderland is a multimedia environment where visitors are welcomed by the sound of the artist’s voice. At the center of the space are two semi-circular child-sized desks arrayed with complex technical equipment and cabling, vintage computer monitors with fake live surveillance feed, various ephemera, and Scher’s signature pink guard caps and customized uniforms with embroidered patches reading ‘Security By Julia’.
These elements form both the nervous system and the metaphorical rabbit hole of a dystopian vision of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. On the walls, complementing the central assemblage of technological apparatuses and associative materials, three large-scale Duratrans prints depict children dressed in the same pink uniforms and caps that are neatly folded on the desks. On the facing wall, an alignment of convex, concave, and curved mirrors — reminiscent of a Fun House — reflects and distorts the enlarged photographs of the child-guards, contributing to the surreal atmosphere of the room.
The interactive installation was conceived for children. By placing them in a position of control and authority, Scher reverses the traditional roles adults/children, protectors/protected, while blurring the line between the ideas of surveillance, security, and threat.