Pierre Huyghe - A Journey That Wasn't (2006)

On February 9th, 2005, seven artists and ten crewmembers set sail from the Port of Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego, the southeast point of Argentina. Their journey centered on a search for an unknown island and an encounter with a unique solitary creature that was rumored to live only on the shores of an unnamed island somewhere at the height of the Polar Antarctic Circle.

This adventure was the first part of a film. The second part, the representation of the adventure, will take place in New York.

Join us on October 14 at dusk for A Journey That Wasn't, an orchestral musical in Central Park based on this journey to Antarctica. Using ice, atmosphere, light, and an original score--written by composer Joshua Cody and performed live on the ice by a symphonic orchestra--Huyghe will transform the distant island in Antarctica into musical form. New York-based composer and guitarist Elliott Sharp will be a featured soloist and musical collaborator on the project.

This event is both a presentation and a film shoot. Viewers will be invited to sit and watch the show, which will be presented three times in a row. Each time will last under 30 minutes and may include pauses to re-shoot. The filming will record both the show and the audience members who watch it, so that those present witness the spectacle and become extras in the resulting film. Audience members are encouraged to wear dark or neutral-colored clothing.

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David Claerbout - Early Works (1996 - 1999)

David Claerbout works in the space between film, photography and painting, with the aid of digital image manipulation, in order to examine notions of veracity, representational ‘objectivity’ and time. If the media systematically bombard us with loud, hectic and often garish images, the artist instead proposes the opposite: quiet, subtle, lingering, poetic images which resonate and remain imprinted in the mind. Much of his work is indeed about the deceleration of perception and about the necessity of close observation. Using images from his own memory and experiences, the artist re-sensitises the viewer to the significance of individual gestures and their intimate poetry. To counteract the speed with which we consume media images Claerbout proposes stillness, meditation and silence. His videos seem frozen, suspended in time and space. Cat and Bird in Peace, is a single monitor video with no sound. A cat and bird, traditional adversaries, sit aside each other. Though it is evident they are not the best of friends, they mind their own business and manage to co-exist coolly. The poignant simplicity of this work is what is striking; it is a potent metaphor for learning to live with the ‘other’, a humorous comment on ‘civilised’ behaviour, and on the importance of peaceful co-existence despite difference.

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at 12:58 PM  

Point of View: An Anthology of the Moving Image (2004) Part 1

Point Of View: An Anthology of the Moving Image is a DVD series that features eleven leading artists from different generations and cultural perspectives, who are among the most important artists working in film, video, and digital imagery today: Francis Alys , David Claerbout, Douglas Gordon, Gary Hill, Pierre Huyghe, Joan Jonas, Isaac Julien, William Kentridge, Paul McCarthy, Pipilotti Rist, Anri Sala.

Francis Alÿs, El Gringo, 2003, 4:12 min, color, sound

Douglas Gordon, Over My Shoulder, 2003, 13:48 min, color, sound

Gary Hill, Blind Spot, 2003, 12:27 min, color, sound

Isaac Julien, Encore, 2003, 4:38 min, color, sound

William Kentridge, Automatic Writing, 2003, 2:38 min, b&w, sound

Pipilotti Rist, I Want to See How You See, 2003, 4:48 min, color, sound

Artists to come in second part are: David Claerbout, Pierre Huyghe, Joan Jonas, Paul McCarthy and Anri Sala.

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Gordon Matta-Clark - City Slivers (1976)

Images of the deconstruction of abandoned buildings and industrial structures are closely associated with "anarchitect" Gordon Matta-Clark. Here, however, are the film works through which Matta-Clark furthered his lifelong excavation of urban dwellings. In this book, San Francisco Cinematheque presents a retrospective of the moving-image works through which Matta-Clark explored his aesthetic assumptions and philosophical inquiry. Featuring rarely published images and a quartet of imaginative essays, City Slivers and Fresh Kills establishes Matta-Clark's films as perhaps his most surprising, and certainly most viscerally arresting body of work, characterized by the same creative provocation, rough aesthetic beauty, and intellectual insight that idefined his signature architectural cuttings and slicings.

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Julian Cooper - Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles (1972)

Long before Los Angeles's contribution to modern culture became widely recognized, British architectural historian Reyner Banham proclaimed it one of the world's great cities.
Banham's influential yet controversial book Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies (1971) saw beauty in the city's sprawling layout and car-based urbanism.
Shortly after the book's publication, the BBC documented Banham's vision of Los Angeles for an episode of its series One Pair of Eyes.

The documentary, Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles (1972, 52 min.), takes the viewer on a tongue-in-cheek tour of the city's cultural landscape.
The trip includes stops at iconic landmarks such as Simon Rodia's Watts Towers and the Lovell "Health" House designed by Richard Neutra (a photograph of the latter is on view in the Getty Research Institute's current exhibition Julius Shulman, Modernity and the Metropolis), as well as mini-malls, drive-thrus, and strip clubs.
An entertaining and thoughtful examination of a metropolis in motion, the film documents a city situated at the divide between the modern era's clean lines and faith in progress—as captured in the work of architectural photographer Julius Shulman—and what has been described as Banham's "Pop Art" view, with its sparkle-front houses, Tiki huts, and jarring juxtapositions.

Reyner Banham (1922-1988) was a prolific architectural critic and writer best known for his 1960 theoretical treatise "Theory and Design in the First Machine Age", and his 1971 book "Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies" in which he categorized the Angelean experience into four ecological models (Surfurbia, Foothills, The Plains of Id, and Autopia) and explored the distinct architectural cultures of each ecology.

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at 12:59 PM  

Jane Wilson & Louise Wilson - Star City / Proton, Unity, Energy, Blizzard (2000)

Video shot in 303 Gallery, New York City, 2000: an installation by Jane and Louise Wilson that combines two of their moving image works, Star City and Proton, Unity, Energy, Blizzard. Star City is 8 minutes long. I don't know the length of the second work, but they are both integrated pretty much seamlessly into one ongoing loop. The installation's footage was originally shot on 16mm and transferred to DVD for exhibition. This record of the installation was shot on a DV camera.
From a review in Art in America:

Like Leni Riefenstahl, the British twins Jane and Louise Wilson create works that estheticize power, but to obviously different ends. Unlike Hitler's favorite filmmaker, their film installations are more funereal than triumphant.
For their newest odes to eroded power and faded glory, a pair of videos called Star City and Proton, Unity, Energy, Blizzard, the Wilsons were granted access to high-security sites of the financially stricken and scaled-back Russian space program. The videos were shot, respectively, at Star City, the main training center for Russian cosmonauts just outside Moscow, and the Baikonur cosmodrome, the massive base of the space program located in modern-day Kazakhstan (though the program is still operated by Russia). These sites, once beacons of Soviet power, are now in such a state of decline that it is sometimes difficult to tell which facilities are still in use and which are abandoned. This sense of desolation is heightened by the near-total absence of people in their footage.
The looped videos were projected on two facing sets of double screens in the gallery's corners. The Wilsons used a number of subtle filming and editing techniques which are noticeable, yet not disruptive or distracting. Scenes shift from near to far, motion to still, but without a jumpy quality. Corresponding to the visual rhythm are the ambient sounds that gave the installation a musical quality-the clunking and whirring of machinery punctuated with silence. The editing juxtaposes things old and new, insignificant and iconic, and spaces vast and intimate: a launchpad's metal bay doors touched with rust swing open to reveal a vast desert horizon with a brilliant blue sky, an empty chair spins around in an enclosed testing chamber. As the camera pans across a room, the images sometimes seem to slide across one screen and onto the next.
The same scenes are often shot from different angles, with closely related but disjunctive images presented side by side or on opposing screens. For example, a large centrifugal training pod (used to simulate gforce) spins around like a carnival ride in a room with an elaborately tiled floor. For one view, a stable camera is trained on the whirling apparatus; in another, the camera is mounted on the machine itself as it follows its dizzying orbit. A particulaly eerie sequence involves an underwater lab-a replica of the Mir space station-used for antigravity training. Filmed from above and below the water's surface, the behemoth station sits immersed like a sunken ship, shrouded in water and silence.
The grandiosity and promise of Russia's space program are belied by scenes showing camels passing next to a rusted, disused launch pad, or space suits stacked on shelves like corpses in a catacomb. When filming these videos, the Wilsons couldn't have known that the Russian government would soon decide to crash the beleagered Mir into the ocean. The news, announced during their show's run last fall, added to the installation's somber quality. Their project shows just how far we still are from the cosmic dreams of Stanley Kubrick's 2001. -Stephanie Cash
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at 6:43 AM  

Richard Serra - Television Delivers People (1973)


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Jonas Dahlberg - Untitled (Verical Sliding) (2001)

The work was first installed in conjunction with shows at Index gallery in Stockholm and Milch in London, (2001). It has since then been presented at exhibitions at Marian Goodman Gallery in Paris (2005), Venice Biennale (2003); Pontevedra Biennale (2002) and Centre pour l'image contemporain Geneva (2003) among others.

The projection has the camera descending, elevator-style, past floor after floor, visiting a seemingly endless succession of passageways, each different yet all decorated with the same faintly patterned floral wallpaper. Light--maybe daylight, maybe artificial, it s impossible to tell--seeps from under closed doors, but there's no reason to think anyone's home--or rather, in their rooms, since these liminal spaces most closely resemble hotel corridors.

Appearances, of course, prove deceptive. Dahlberg's sets are architectural models, built to a circular plan, and filmed with a centrally positioned rotating camera--hence the seamless continuity of the installation's footage. What seem to be tracking shots are really ten-minute, 360-degree pans, describing loci that inevitably read as nodes in a labyrinth--a subtly scary one, since its vertical and horizontal extension implies the impossibility of finding an external vantage point. Taking the panopticon as its starring point, Dahlberg's investigation suggests a psychoanalytic appropriation of the panoptic model, revealing the surveying self as itself both self-surveying and vulnerable to surveillance. Might there be hiders in the house, unseen presences behind those half-closed doors and darkened entrances? The camera's full-circle pan becomes readable as a paranoid attempt to watch one's own back. This is territory Dahlberg has charted before, in Safe Zones I: to fetch a sweater, 1996, Spying out the apartm ents overlooking his, the artist found that a gun collector occupied one. Dahlberg calculated the "safe zones" in his own home, paths from room to room that were outside his neighbor's potential line of fire. Following these, he shot photographic evidence of his neighbor's hobby, but also videoed his own convoluted progress through the zones, a fugitive in his own house.

With the reflexive moment of philosophical thought, Cornelius Castoriadis writes, "Things are no longer simply juxtaposed: the nearest is the furthest, and the forks in the road...have become simultaneous, mutually intersecting. The entrance to the labyrinth is at one of its centers--or rather, we no longer know whether there is a center, what a center is." And Umberto Eco observes that multicursal labyrinths (like Dahlberg's) need no Minotaur, because in them one can make mistakes--the visitor's own errors play the monster's devouring role. Dahlberg's labyrinthine experiment, manipulating categories of interior and exterior, serves as an ambiguous model of the philosophizing psyche, its mood delicately poised between lyrical reverie and creeping paranoia.

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