“Let’s print out some ecstasy”. In Adam Green’s Aladdin, your most hedonistic and absurd wishes are his command. For Green’s second directed film (succeeding the iPhone-shot The Wrong Ferrari), the former Moldy Peaches member reinvents both a classic fairytale and Disney blockbuster with the help of some artist friends and a mountain of papier-mâché.
The 82-minute feature debuted last Thursday at the Hole Gallery in New York and stars Green himself as the eponymous street urchin alongside other prominent creatives: actress Natasha Lyonne plays Aladdin’s boozy, gold-digging mother, Alia Shawkat his twin sister, Jack Dishel reigns as the corrupt, totalitarian sultan, internet sensation Big Ling embodies a wanton socialite princess, Italian artist Francesco Clemente grants wishes as the jaded genie, and Green’s best friend and not easily forgotten child star Macaulay Culkin leads a rebel army group known as the Magical Americans. In addition to acting and sourcing talent, Green also wrote the script, painted the sets, and recorded the accompanying musical album, making Aladdin a truly interdisciplinary feat, and one that unsurprisingly took 4 years and a Kickstarter campaign to complete. The end result is a bizarre, yet wonderful hyper-sensory magic carpet ride through Green’s personal beliefs on materialism, overproduction, modern technology, and privacy.
While the media spotlight has flickered on the finished film, Green’s contributions as a visual artist, which include 30 hand constructed sets and close to 500 unique props, shouldn’t be overlooked. Especially when those props are as delightfully weird as an asparagus chair, a shit sandwich, a giant camel, and a magic lamp that doubles as a 3-D printer. Equipped with just paint and papier-mâché from recovered telephone books, Green created the ultimate DIY world, one that is, in essence, a real-life version of his paintings in 8-bit graphics.
By night, The Hole features a ticked screening of Aladdin, but by day, Green’s work is a proper art exhibition, with two of his colorful sets reconstructed in the gallery space. Viewers are invited to step in and out of the backdrops and inspect close-up a selection of the film’s oddball props. With wooden frames left exposed and corners slightly unfinished, the whole exhibit helps lend a truly “behind the scenes” or “in the making” experience. Because who wouldn’t wish for the zany experience of creating Adam Green’s Aladdin?
Adam Green: Aladdin at the Hole
April 7 – 14, 2016
Writing by Lisa Marsova
Photographs by Olya Turcihin