Miasma (1973)

Disaster films often are a reflection of the social tones and times in which they are made. Dual video projection, Miasma (1973), takes two pivotal Hollywood films – Poseidon Adventure and Towering Inferno – that arose from the crises that existed for the West in the early 70’s. The films are re-edited to create opposing yet contiguous visual loops that reference the highs and lows of the disaster genre. The loops are rhythmic in their visual parallels of joy/fear, fire/water, life/death as the narrative unfolds. The installation was part of New Worlds, New Works, presented on two large monitors positioned opposite each other so viewers could not easily see both screens at once, the video works are silent.

Exhibited at New Worlds, New Works 2009 in The Arches, Glasgow




Neil Cooper / The Herald 3 July 2009

“Also in the middle bar and running until the end of the week is Miasma (1973), a video installation by Lindsay Perth which attempts to tap into current concerns about global warming by re-editing two examples from the wave of disaster movies which proliferated in the early 1970s. Twin screens face each other, playing versions of The Towering Inferno and The Poseidon Adventure, in which, in a pre-9/11 world, people dance, drown and burn in endless synch, wiped out by the elemental and near-biblical plagues of fire and water. Beyond the two films’ period kitsch, in a world where apocalypse is predicted every day – at times with good reason – their melodramatic, at times fetishistic renderings become all-engulfing microcosms of worst possible scenarios.”

Joyce McMillan / The Scotsman 4 July 2009
“And Perth’s Miasma is a brilliant short video installation which takes two great disaster movies of the 1970s – The Towering Inferno and The Poseidon Adventure – and shows dramatically similar scenes from each on facing screens, forcing a repeated, looping confrontation with the nightmares of disaster by heat and flood.”