The idea for "On Thin Ice" (2016) was born in 2014 during the Olympic gold medal performance of 15-year-old Russian figure skater, Yulia Lipnitskaya, choreographed to the theme from “Schindler’s List.” Team Russia’s awarding of the Sochi games caused a justifiable stir among people concerned with human rights and the Russian military’s crossing of internationally recognized borders. Like many people, I was offended. John Williams’ original music not only connected, but transformed the sound of Spielberg’s groundbreaking film. It emotionally scored the Holocaust for an entire generation of young people coming of age in the 1990s, many of whom otherwise had little or no reference to it.
As a call and response to today’s endless coverage of Russian meddling in our electoral process and “alternative facts,” "On Thin Ice" reimagines a 16-bit 1990s video game scored to an 8-bit, 1980s-style transcription of the same music. In doing so, the film depicts themes of failure, repetition and its absurdity. Moreover, it attempts to breakdown the ambivalence and incongruities of ethnic propaganda packaged to look like “truth” in the guise of art. I’m simultaneously intrigued and disgusted by the liberties taken by those who lack tact, by means of exaggeration, embellishment, hyperbole, and sensationalism in telling a story. The false representation of "On Thin Ice," as seen on a vintage PC, is deliberate: it explores the intersection of the news, entertainment, and technology as part of a broader and more than ever fragmented contemporary visual culture.