We are in a brick building with a red door from 1865. Existing in this building is a computer running a social media program called THE FICTION SCIENCE TRIANGLE. We activate a delivery system that has no physical location. We project our link with your interface and make available three fictions. We see two sisters walking through a re-imagined Holyoke residency program, the last known photograph of the HALFLIFERS and a post-human Korean dance forms dating workshop. We are now exploring speculative fictions by video makers who work together and apart.


“What-If? In the Days When the Tiger Smoked” is the culmination of an ongoing project which began in Busan, South Korea in 2006. At the heart of the work is the unfolding of a role-playing workshop where participants reenact dates leading up to a fictional polyamorous romance. The performance, played by a rotating international cast of artists, leads to a group wedding and honeymoon between characters based upon two obscure Marvel superheroes and two internationally renowned art personalities. The happy foursome are Orlan, an artist whose actual redefinition of her own body via plastic surgery confronts representations of woman throughout art history; Stelarc, an artist whose cybernetic mission in life is to render the body obsolete; the Scarlet Witch, a mutant superhero who has unlimited powers over probability, and the Vision, a “synthezoid” superhero whose mechanically fabricated body contains a human soul. What-If?…unfolds the entangled story that brought this romantic foursome together spanning the gulf between genders and representations; the body and technology.
Named after the Korean saying for “Once Upon a Time,” our project In the Days When the Tiger Smoked, fuses together our two single-channel video works from 2009, What-If? & What-If? Beyond a carnalove . New works from our polyamorous databank of speculative fiction include a series of video loops. Honeymoon Valley is an ambient exploration of both historic and contemporary South Korean sites and reengages with the terrain where our characters first met and later honeymooned. Wundagore Spa enacts a Proxy-Orlan character’s simulated operation with sticky and reckless abandon.
AnimatronLove revisits variations on the choreography performed by our characters’ virtual avatars contextualized into a series of alternate worlds.



Familiars is an experimental video project re-imagining the Skinners Massachusetts Wistariahurst family house and grounds as a fictional residency program populated by speculative Holyoke entities. Scenes include variable collaborations between (Kirsten-cameras), Hanne-recorders, kitten & catman, living relative memory, baseball ramblers, silk worms, immersion Man, frozen aviary, Japanese & Holyoke mill workers, ectoplasmic typewriters, and spectral publishing entities.

FAMILIARS – HDV – 9:00 – stereo – color – variable dates / variable versions – Torsten Zenas Burns
Special thanks to: Holyoke, MA, The Skinner family, Wistariahurst, The staff and
volunteers at Wistariahurst Museum, Kari Gatzke, Hanne Burns, Lee Pembleton,
Alexis Fedorjaczenko, Chris Nelson, Michael Martindell

Zenas Burns is an artist and media arts educator living in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Since 2007 he has been curating exhibitions, video screenings and performance art events for PARSONS HALL PROJECT SPACE based in Western Mass. He received his BFA in video art in 1990 from the New York State College of Art & Design at Alfred University, and his MFA in New Genres: video and performance art from The San Francisco Art Institute in 1993. He has created & curated video, photo and installation projects exploring speculative content, including re-imagined educational practices, experimental space programs, zombie / afterlife relationships, post-human fictions, and improvisational choreographies. Other long term projects include collaborations with Darrin Martin and Anthony Discenza (under the name HALFLIFERS). Burns’ selected video work is distributed by Vtape, Video Data Bank, LUX and EAI. Over the past 19 years Burns has participated in over nine residency programs including Headlands Center for the Arts, Experimental Television Center, L.M.C.C. World Views Studio Program, Smackmellon, and Eyebeam. Burns has had video work screened at the Museum of Modern Art’s Video Viewpoints and Premieres series, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Pacific Film Archive, SF Camera works, Dumbo Arts Center, Video_Dumbo, Aurora Picture Show, Migrating Forms, Krowswork Gallery, The Chicago Underground Film Festival, The European Media Arts Festival, The Impakt Festival, The Melbourne International Film Festival, The Oberhausen Short Film Festival, The Busan International video festival, and The Stuttgarter Filmwinter: Festival for Expanded Media. In 2013 he produced and curated a magazine + video performance screening called The Uncanny Pioneer Valley at PARSONS HALL PROJECT SPACE. In 2013 Burns & Discenza as HALFLIFERS co-curated a group exhibition and performance series called: I think we’re ready to go to the next sequence: the legacy of HALFLIFERS at Gallery 400, Chicago, IL. In 2014 his latest videotape FAMILIARS will have its Chicago premier at the Chicago underground film festival.