Pierre Huyghe - The Third Memory and One Million Kingdoms (1999, 2001)
Friday, November 23, 2007
The Third Memory. Real-life "Dog Day Afternoon" bank robber John Wojtowicz re-enacts the crime which made him famous. Fact, fiction, and memory collide and merge as the re-enactment scenes, scenes from the Hollywood movie, and television news footage of the original robbery are interwoven.
One Million Kingdoms, 2001, is the most recent in a series of animated films in which a Japanese anime character, the brooding young girl AnnLee, is inserted into various dramas. Here she is dropped into a lunar landscape that is mapped out and developed in correspondence with the rises and falls of the narrator's voice - tinny, at times labored - digitally derived from a recording of Neil Armstrong. The stories of the first moon landing, in 1969, and of Jules Verne's 1864 novel Journey to the Center of the Earth have been conflated here in a conspiracy theory of the faked and the fantastic. Armstrong's first words - It's a lie - prompt AnnLee, as she moves from place to place on a constantly fluctuating terrain, in which mountains, craters, ridges, and outcroppings rise and fall according to the intonations of the narrator's voice. His words blur the fictional and factual, using language that derives from distinct genres and centuries—Verne's work of fiction and Armstrong's and Buzz Aldrin's presumably true transmissions of their experience during the landing of Apollo 11's lunar module. Thus the landscape of AnnLee is a shifting terrain determined by utterances, which chart both the real and the imaginary. Source: guggenheimcollection.org and... In Pierre Huyghe's One Million Kingdoms, a voice maps out unexplored lunar terrain. The voice belongs to a Japanese Manga character named AnnLee, for which Huyghe, along with artists Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster and Philippe Parreno, purchased the copyright in 1999. Featured in previous works by the three artists, here this brooding young girl speaks in a voice that is an electronically altered version of the astronaut Neil Armstrong's communiqués from the first moon landing; the text she recites conflates Armstrong's historic utterances with excerpts from Jules Verne's 1895 novel Journey to the Center of the Earth. Armstrong's words prompt AnnLee as she moves from place to place on a constantly fluctuating landscape, in which mountains, craters, ridges, and outcroppings rise and fall according to the sound waves of his (her) voice.
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