Sunday, November 23, 2014


In May of this year, I was fortunate to be present on opening night at Toronto's Art for Peace exhibit, a ground-breaking showcase for the works of many fine Canadian and international artists, all working in a loosely defined genre often referred to as "Fantastic Art". My somewhat lengthy overview of that event can be read here.

One of the people I had the pleasure of meeting that night was Montreal video artist Syl Disjonk, who was there to help his friend, associate, and fellow artist Jean Pronovost set up some large pieces, including a sculpture of a vengeful Sphinx murdering a bloated businessman by shoving fistfuls of gold coins into his fat, gaping gob - a piece that was widely recognized by all present as one of the exhibition's high points.

Late in the evening, when the crowds began to thin, I got a chance to spend some quality time with the remarkably personable Syl and Jean, chatting about their work as well as our shared interests, which included Quebecois pop culture, progressive metal pioneers Voivod, and, of course, our love of all things Lovecraft.

Syl, I learned, had recently completed a short film called Ethereal Chrysalis, which he described to me as "a surrealist Lovecraftian mind-fuck", or words to that effect. After visiting the short's website, I was intrigued. Then I saw the film, and to say that it did not disappoint would be a massive understatement.

This movie is just pure, balls-out bonkers from start to finish. It begins with Syl ripping his own face off and inviting you to step inside his head, where a labyrinthine series of paranoid tableaux unfold. These evocative hellscapes are bursting with subliminal elements and psycho-mystical symbolism. Carrying an armload of unidentifiable carrion, Syl discovers a ladder leading up to the head of a giant version of himself. He climbs the ladder and is almost instantly trapped by a sinister “psychic alchemist” who draws out some of Syl’s life essence, using it to transform into a slimy penis/eel/tentacle that flies into a black hole only to be reborn as a half-turtle, half-crustacean war-beast, forcing Syl to retaliate by tearing off his own head, hurling it at the monster, and trapping it in a bloody cocoon of crusty scabs.

And that's when things really get weird.

Until recently, Ethereal Chrysalis was making the festival rounds, which means that it wasn't available to watch online. Festivals frown on giving screen time to work that people can watch on their iPhones while taking a dump in the office shitter, you see. But now, after earning plaudits and awards all around the world, Syl has decided that the time is right to unleash his movie on an unsuspecting world via that most democratic of all video sharing sites, Youtube. 

And so, without further ado, I proudly present my friend Syl Disjonk's film, Ethereal Chrysalis, to the Daily Dirt Diaspora readership. I urge you to watch it and, if you like it, to share it with your friends. It's a twisted little masterpiece - an obvious labor of love - and attention must be paid.


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