Stretching up to see over an edge, leaning sideways to peer around a corner, teetering backward as we tumble downhill: Dutch artist Aernout Mik’s three-panel video projection puts you right in the picture, with the fluid movement of a first-person camera gliding through the world. The setting is the eerily calm and bloodless aftermath of a bus accident, when bystanders, firemen and paramedics mill about and farm animals graze in the tangled weeds nearby. Onlookers stare, some passively, some with concern, while firemen climb in and out of the crumpled wreckage and investigators rifle through pieces of twisted metal. Although the scene references catastrophe, there’s a striking absence of drama and emotion, and we join the camera’s investigation, looking for clues in the details. The installation feels entirely immersive, but Mik hasn’t filled the gallery space with gigantic imagery; instead, he’s crafted an angled wall with rear projection so that viewers entering the gallery see a wide, slightly larger-than-life slice of another world. Refraction, which refers to a shift in direction when a wave of light moves from one medium to the next, offers a rich metaphor here. The physical structure of the piece, with its canted angle, seems to refract the projection, while the camera, too, refracts, offering disparate points of view in its relentless movement. From low down in the mud where the pigs snort to high above the scene, the piece bears witness to catastrophe — not to its spectacle and drama, but to its haunting aftermath. Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.; thru Dec. 31; (310) 443-7000 or

—Holly Willis

Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.