Kukamunga! is a fully integrated multimedia installation, centered around a simple idea: the tangible nostalgia of a video tape.
The project started merely as an exploration of what formal elements are both admired and satirized in the antiquated VHS format.
Now, Kukamunga! includes a performance piece complete with a studio installation, a full length children's show, a set of custom designed tapes for open sale, a short viewing circuit and tape distribution at local elementary schools, and a set of musical bonus content for "Kuka! Club" members.
episode one: music
Emulating the moralistic neighborhood-worlds of old kid’s shows such as Sesame Street and Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, Kukamunga! transports you to a world outside of the existence of commercialism of other media, a world truly of its own. With a heavy dash of satire— implicit in the transparency of any highly outmoded medium— the video work sets a humorous counterpoint in its frank imagination.
VHS tapes are still available for sale, as the video piece is only available in the physical medium.
The video piece alone entailed a full amateur cast of children, handmade set design and costumery, all original composition (excluding “Night Flight” and the Irish traditional “Danny Boy”), and complete filming and post-production work, planned and produced by the artist over the course of eight months.
As a standalone video work or as the focal point of the installation capsule, the tape serves as a physical talisman of the antiquated, endearing, and often ridiculous culture of early children’s media. The tape case design and distribution method were executed to conflict drastically with today’s aesthetic and commercial ideas of the child as a consumer of mass media.
the outer edges of the kuka! universe
The related video work to the Kukamunga! universe expands on the theme of music as a central means by which children can learn and experience the world.
The pragmatism, and moralism, of children’s media as a cultural tool remains in today’s conversations surrounding the role of technology and commercial media in children’s development. What strange power do these characters have to instruct as well as entertain?