Nearly five years in the making, Colonialtown Babylon
is the pinnacle of Kate Shults’ distinctive visual style: dark digital video with shallow color depth, rich reds and blues, and pixels that fray into noise, emphasizing narrative through texture. Shults, a moving image artist and film educator with UCF’s School of Visual Arts and Design, adapts Raymond Chandler’s 1939 novel The Big Sleep
(popularized on screen by Bogart and Bacall), swapping the plot incomprehensibility of that hardboiled mystery for deliberate ambiguity. Drugs, sex, voyeurism and blackmail shape an undercurrent of extinction as every clue tells a different story, but each with the same ending: murder. Settings among nocturnal neighborhood haunts – Uncle Lou’s, Wally’s, the Cameo Theater fire escape, alongside spaces known more intimately by Shults’ cast of local residents – harbor an alternative dimension in Orlando’s Colonialtown neighborhood, where an exploded femme fatale trope keeps pace with an approaching hurricane toward not only subjecthood but witchy, death-dealing revenge. Alas, Colonialtown, your judgment has come.
6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 27 | The Venue, 511 Virginia Drive | 407-412-6895 | thevenueorlando.com