A radio, a warning repeated in a loop, intuition of a catastrophe that slowly approaches through the ruins and houses of a tropical rainforest. A natural disaster is coming, a natural disaster is coming, a natural disaster is coming… The paradox and its danger are served: a warning endlessly repeated may become a strange peace message. Continue reading
At one point in Chris Petit’s haunting new film Content, we drive through Felixstowe container port. It was an uncanny moment for me, since Felixstowe is only a couple of miles from where I live – what Petit filmed could have been shot from our car window. What made it all the more uncanny was the fact that Petit never mentions that he is in Felixstowe; the hangars and looming cranes are so generic that I began to wonder if this might not be a doppelgänger container port somewhere else in the world. All of this somehow underlined the way Petit’s text describes these “blind buildings” while his camera tracks along them: “non-places”, “prosaic sheds”, “the first buildings of a new age” which render “architecture redundant”. Continue reading
« I was thinking about light and its relation to water and to life, and also its opposite – darkness or the night and death. I thought about how we have built entire cities of artificial light as refuge from the dark. »
Video treats light like water – it becomes a fluid on the video tube.
Water supports the fish like light supports man. Land is the death of the fish. Darkness is the death of man. »
Bill Viola, 1981
Hatsu-Yume (First Dream) is Bill Viola’s masterpiece, the greatest work by one of the most important video artists in the world. A spiritual allegory equating light and dark with life and death. Hatsu-Yume was produced in Japan in 1981 while Viola was artist-in-residence at the Sony Corporation. The title refers to Japanese folklore, wherein things done on the first day of a new year are significant. But the tape is not to be taken literally as a dream. For Viola, it’s more like the aboriginal concept of dreamtime, the creation of the world. That’s why, as a whole and in its parts, Hatsu-Yume progresses from darkness to light, stillness to motion, silence to sound, simplicity to complexity, nature to civilization. There are two interwoven themes: the dark water world of fish, and Buddhist rituals invoking the souls of dead ancestors. As in a dream, we frequently can’t tell if these wordless streams of image and sound are unfolding in real time, slow-motion or time-lapse. A work of extravagant pictorial beauty, Hatsu-Yume represents the most painterly use of light in the history of video. Form is content: the light that lures fish to their death protects human life. At once ominous, majestic, mystical and deeply spiritual, Hatsu-Yume is the work of a visionary poet of image and sound. Continue reading
The ‘Lichtung’ exhibition was a three-way project centered around an audio-visual installation. The American visual and sound artist Steve Roden and the Dutch sound artist and musician Rutger Zuydervelt provided the audio whilst the German visual artist Sabine Bürger provided the video element. Additionally each of the artists exhibited examples of their own work on paper addressing the interface between the audio and the visual. Continue reading
Pictures at an Exhibition by Chris Marker. Its title, like Sans Soleil, is taken from a piece by Modest Mussorgsky. Continue reading
FILM; A Pioneering Dialogue Between Actress and Image
By J. HOBERMAN
ANDY WARHOL has so become his own trademark — and is so much a one-name synonym for the culture of celebrity — that it can be a shock to realize just how brilliantly original he was as a visual artist. A case in point: The double-screen video-based film installation ”Outer and Inner Space” at the Whitney Museum (through Nov. 30), which places his glamorous, doomed superstar Edie Sedgwick in a dialogue with her own video-taped image.
First shown in 1966 and largely forgotten for some 30 years thereafter, ”Outer and Inner Space” is a historical anomaly — a masterpiece of video art made before the term even existed. The piece meditates on the distinction between film and tape while introducing the issues of real-time recording and simultaneous feedback that would inform much video art from the 1970’s on. For the Whitney adjunct curator, Callie Angell, ” ‘Outer and Inner Space” ”creates this classic background for video art that it didn’t know it had.” Continue reading
Marcel Broodthaers (January 28, 1924 – January 28, 1976) was a Belgian poet, filmmaker and artist with a highly literate and often witty approach to creating art works.
He was born in Brussels, Belgium, where he was associated with the Groupe Surréaliste-revolutionaire from 1945 and dabbled in journalism, film, and poetry. After spending 20 years in poverty as a struggling poet, he performed the symbolic act of embedding fifty unsold copies of his book of poems Pense-Bête in plaster, creating his first art object. That same year, 1964, for his first exhibition, he wrote a famous preface for the exhibition catalogue; Continue reading