When I was a weird little kid in suburbia obsessed with horror of all kinds, my grandfather (who isn’t alive anymore) built me a haunted house. I could pretend I was a ghost or a bat or a werewolf crying blood over a cardboard tombstone. It was a make-believe world where my imagination could get deranged and it was magic. My Head is a Haunted House grew out of that hallucinogenic memory and its psychic hold on me.
Natürlich, a ton of other spooky stuff now surrounds it in the graveyard of my brain, which fed into the show, too. Some major, uh, ‘presences’ as an exorcist might call them: the psychopath Buffalo Bill’s lair from The Silence of the Lambs, Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice (remember how Winona finds the door to the Land of the Dead in the attic?), watching VHS rips of MTV Cribs on YouTube, the Red Room from Twin Peaks. The ectoplasm holding all this stuff together is how it deforms home into… something else: the weird interior. Mental space becomes physical space. Look what happened to those dreamy teens in A Nightmare on Elm Street. The haunted house was the first virtual world I inhabited. I was thinking a lot about how movies like Under the Skin, Beauty & the Beast, or Hereditary mutate conventional storytelling into this creepy video game experience where you wander around in a hi-def space looking for clues. I got obsessed with the thought of an art show that did the same kind of sinister environmental simulation. The whole thing is happening in a freaky zone inside somebody’s head, faraway from reality, which often sucks. The contents manifest all kinds of wicked stuff about memory, fear, the strangeness of being inside a body, and what it means to be (or not to be) at home.
Meanwhile, My Head is a Haunted House’s dark counterpart, Dracula’s Wedding at RODEO, is a different night of the living dead. The two shows are twins: they relate in kind of a trippy and secretive way. Some artists reappear at each one, like the bogeymen who come back in slasher movie sequels, too monstrous to be killed. But the real, demonic reason for this double act will only be revealed upon my death.
If you’re lost inside a haunted house, does that make you a ghost?
There’s no place like home.