August 23, 2009

At the Dallas Museum of Art for 1 More Week: Rist et Al.

The Private Universes exhibition has lots of great work, all worth seeing. One of my favorite pieces, perhaps most fave, was Pipilotti Rist's I Couldn't Agree with You More (1999) (the image right is from Rist's website, but doesn't look quite like the video).

I think this piece deserves analysis, but sorry to say, I can't take that on now. But in case it's of any help, below are my notes:

Close up of, presumably, Pipi, colorful and hot (color throughout this piece is tweaked, but. Bright yellow hair, full make-up including purple lips, bright hipster shirt). ALL footage is in slo-mo, with no audio except music, its tempo matched to the pace of the video, mournful, dreamy and almost spacey but with a steady thread of harmonica.

Pipi moves smoothly through various settings, apparently holding the camera before her but moving it around, sometimes nearer, sometimes not so near, often swooping to get weird angles and different backgrounds or to maintain the pace of visual movement, but almost always trained on her own face. Mostly we see her face and throat and some background, occasionally a bit more of her body. Her eyes mostly remain fixed on the camera but also v. often at a point just above it – just where the second projection lies (higher than shown in this image) – and, rarely, elsewhere. The second projection, superimposed roughly at her "third eye" point (though a bit to the left?), is much smaller, blurry-edged, and consists of footage shot in a forest at night, lit by car headlights, of 4 naked adults, 2 women and 2 men, who appear to observe Pipi even more constantly than she appears to observe them. The nude people (nouveau sauvages?) are stark naked but with modern haircuts, sometimes partially hiding behind shrubbery, sometimes caught out in the middle of the road. They look somewhat startled, curious, or faintly amused; but the emotion is not intense. Pipi's face is if anything even more impassive, but seems intent – very much watching, looking; the two constituencies are definitely looking, and mostly at each other.

The action of the main (face) video starts with Pipi walking down the aisle of a public bus or tram, with other riders visible in the background; then she's in a grocery store, with lots of goods, price tags, and other shoppers behind her. While in the store, but not elsewhere, she's wearing a camera strap – I think we glimpse a camera of some kind hanging from it? – and the strap is a bright blue that flickers in a way I don't notice the other blues or other colors doing – I have to think she colored it or something, to draw attention to it? Perhaps to let us know this primary viewer is in fact the artist (and carrying two cameras)?

Next she seems to be in an apartment; she sinks onto a bed (the camera still trained on her own face), then gets up, then we see a city through windows behind her; there seem to be at least two cityscapes, one of which involves a large construction project.

Throughout, the same forest-with-naked-people scenes are superimposed more or less on her forehead, but because one loop is ca. one minute shorter than the other, the scenes sync up differently from one viewing to the next. The audio is synced with the main video of Pipi's face.
Also worth much more than this mention is the exhibition, Willie Doherty: Requisite Mention, featuring his video, Ghost Story, together with related photographic works.

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