Over the weekend: Fantasia 2012 at Rhinoceropolis

On Saturday night Rhinoceropolis was transformed into a surreal collection of different visceral spaces, a kind of haunted house of DIY weirdness, attacking the senses partly with fear, but also with ideas that challenged reality and the nature of aesthetics. Known as Fantasia 2012, the art installation put its guests through a wringer of unexpected prizes and not entirely welcome disorientation.

The brainchild of Colin Ward -- the hyper weirdo behind Alphabets -- and Stephan Herrera, the night saw a collection of over twenty artists working in mediums ranging from sight to sound, taste, cerebral adventure and anarchic mischief. Brittany Gould's Married in Burdichev gave an ethereal performance, treating the audience to a few new songs, while an anonymous masked man spun a small wheel of fortune attached to one wall, shouting aggressively while encouraging others to spin and win prizes, occasionally lighting a round of firecrackers, casually tossing them into the audience while shouting "THIS IS ANARCHY!" All while Piper Rose sat before him, on the floor, obliviously giving Tarot readings.

You never knew when you would be safe. One minute you'd be letting your guard down in a closed-off serene environment -- such as one dark space with the pink gravel floor, a video projection of a sunset and the sound of a running shower all around -- and the next minute a man in a chicken suit with a microphone was shouting at you, demanding that you dance right this instant.

The pieces were thoughtfully and ambitiously assembled, utilizing thrift-store materials like wind chimes and fake plants (so many fake plants!) to create spaces that the mind could disappear into. Even the bathroom didn't escape, becoming a red-light darkroom with small statues and hot water fountains that gave the room a thick humidity.

Chair hammocks hung seven feet off the ground, security cameras surprised you around each corner, a pair of transvestites gave an undecipherable -- yet ultimately hilarious -- comedy routine in some foreign language (Swedish? Dutch?), a masked man in a bright red robe gave an ominous countdown to nothing.

Fantasia 2012 confused the senses and rearranged all connection with reality, but ultimately left any participant dazzled by the inspired aesthetics and the primal disorientation of it all.

Other musical performances included Zach Khan and Alphabets; Colin Ward also contributed to the visual art, as did with Stephan Herrera, Nicholas O' Brien, Ox Danielson and Joey Coniss. Other performances were executed by Drew Englander, Alicia Ordal, Chris Westin, Kevin John Wesley, Luke Schupte and Travis Edgy (of Pictureplane).

Click ahead for more pictures of Fantasia 2012.

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