Basim Magdy, Crystal Ball, 2013. Digital video, 7'

Basim Magdy, Crystal Ball, 7' (2013)

Brad Butler and Karen Mirza, The Space Between, 12' (2005)

Luiz Roque, O Novo Monumento, 5'35" (2013)

Minouk Lim, The Weight of Hands, 13'50'' (2010)

Tintin Wulia, Everything's OK, 4'51'' (2003)

Wura-Natasha Ogunji, My father and I dance in outer space, 1' (2011)

Just as the word 'fracture' suggests a break, or disruption, the experience of time in these films is fragmented, distorted, ambivalent or indeterminate. Whether reflective of a state of contemporary consciousness or a search for a constructed space that is at once futuristic and reflective of times past, these works require that we reorient the position from which we receive and process what is seen. In Shifts and Interruptions, artists use, and in some cases blend, various genres, from science fiction, to animation, to documentary, to create situations in which different histories or time frames are evoked, various 'realities' appear to co-exist, or an imaginary space-time is created through non-linear formats, or the use (or apparent use) of both new and older technologies.

 

In Basim Magdy's Crystal Ball, the use of sonar beeps, used to 'see' what is otherwise invisible ahead, suggests a desire to know the future, while black and white images originally shot on Double Super 8 present a sequence of apparently unrelated images, such as abandoned sites, a dinosaur, and various landscapes, that implies the passing of time, but in a way that proposes that the future will be nothing but a reenactment of the present. The questioning of the advancement of time as an indicator of progress is also evident in Tintin Wulia's Everything's OK, where time is in 'fast-forward', reflecting the indiscriminate growth of the city of Jakarta, carried out without consideration of the needs of a society on a more human level. Here, the accumulation of hand-made elements simulates this unregulated, accelerated development that comes to a momentary pause before the cycle begins once again.

 

In speaking of The Weight of Hands, Minouk Lim refers to the experience of time within it as a pilgrimage 'to places left out of our memory, journeys of the 25th hour'.[1] In this film, shot with the type of infrared camera often associated with military surveillance, Lim combines footage of construction sites with that of a staged performance, in which people on a tour bus try to access spaces where human presence is forbidden. The shifts between a suggested past, future, and present become liquid, evoking a profound sense of loss and longing. By contrast, in a film that only lasts one minute, Wura-Natasha Ogunji uses the movements of her own body in a fictional space to imagine what it would be like to dance with her father who is now deceased. Using stop motion techniques, Ogunji creates a futuristic landscape in which she can be in the same space-time as someone who is no longer physically present, creating a sense of flight, dance and intergalactic connection.

 

Also tightly shot from a restricted vantage point, Brad Butler and Karen Mirza's The Space Betweennonetheless manages to create a kind of visual 'dissonance' through a fractured, flickering, overlapping of imagery. Footage of the 'real' becomes abstracted in a work that combines occasional pauses with rapid movement, disrupting the experience of linear time and presenting the impression of multiple, or indeterminate, time bases. Luiz Roque's black and white film O Novo Monumento opens with the quote 'Monuments are, therefore, only possible in periods in which a unifying consciousness and unifying culture exists.'[2] The film shows an interpretation of a work by Brazilian artist Amílcar de Castro: a new monument that is ceremoniously restaged in an undefined landscape and seems to hover between references to the past and a possible future, subverting the idea of a monument as something that commemorates the past for subsequent generations.

[1] http://www.walkerart.org/magazine/2012/minouk-lim-walker-art-center.

[2] Sert, J. L., F. Leger, and S. Giedion, 1984 Nine Points on Monumentality, Harvard Architecture Review, 4:62-3

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Shifts and Interuptions

Curated by Anne Barlow

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