oh man i wrote some more words about art with my brain and thinking and stuff

March 4, 2010 by jbaij

Showreel is a video by Harm van den Dorpel depicting his own “version” or accounting-for of a collaboratively performed potlatch of screen captures shared-in-dialogue between himself as well as a group of artist friends–Charles Broskoski, Constant Dullaart, Martijn Hendriks, Pascual Sisto, and Ola Vasiljeva.

Van den Dorpel’s version of these events consists of an edited (and chronologically preserved) string of images filtered through the automatic effects of an intensified Ken Burns slideshow tool, ultimately resulting in an idiosyncratic, multi-layered representation of the time in which the images were collected and shared in the first place.

Through the continuous application of three automated functions in the slideshow software:

(1.) A slow dissolve into and out of a palimpsest of three to four (or more) image layers composed entirely of imagery appropriated from digital image archives.

(2.) A slow lateral movement over the majority of these image layers in both varying directions as well as varying rates of speed.

(3.) A slow zoom both into as well as out of approximately half of these image layers.

the video (or the extract of the video available on-line anyway) shows its viewer a reel of collaboratively endured time as, on the one hand, ineffable–a continuous flux of image layers merging with memories of image layers merging with emerging image layers—and, on the other hand, because ineffable, un-re(e)(a)l—always already just outside of one’s grasp.

Van den Dorpel’s version shows me the way, beginning with what—to my mind anyway—reads as:

A transparent layer of vertical lines and an orange flame flicker moving to the bottom left corner of the yellow-tinted photo of a quaint bedroom layout.

This image layer collision might strike one as what has been called an “intellectual montage”—image layer A + image layer B=image layer C (the synthesis)—in which, in short, the representation of stability (the vertical lines, the photographic representation of a bedroom) is rendered as unstable (the flame flicker).

But, that’s “in short.”

“In time,” this intellectual montage is, as the flame itself suggests (in an act of short circuiting), already (a thing of the) past—a memory crystal fighting against previous memory crystals, emergent memory crystals, and the ever-present threat of future memory crystals.

As soon as one feels the zap of the intellectual montage, its power—it’s “truth”—is just as quickly zapped out of one’s mind by emergent image layers such as:

(1.) A computer keyboard inverted 90 degrees.

(2.) Interconnecting plastic tubes forming a storage unit set against a black void.

(3.) A plane of refracted light in swimming pool water set against a black void.

(4.) Two vertical white lines set against a black void intersected by both a white ring as well as a pattern of white lines and arcs resembling the shape of a dish rack.

(5.) Hans Holbein the Younger’s The Ambassadors anamorphically skewed in perspective in order to mimic the famous anamorphic skewing of the skull in the bottom of the painting’s own original composition.

And so on and so on and so on and so on until one catches on that their own picture of the work is itself ineffable–glimpsed and then buried in the flow of memory crystals and emergent memory crystals in its wake.

Van den Dorpel’s version shows me the way.

References to inverted computing equipment, interlocking structures floating in voids, refracted light on swimming pool ripples, and the skewing of The Ambassadors point to a picture of time and time’s pictures as maya.

By: Jeff Baij

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