Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Video/Sound Installation Review: CARTASONIC – Jack Straw Studios, Seattle

"CARTASONIC combines field recording, projection, and montage to convey the layered architectural history of Civita di Bagnoregio, a remote Italian hill town."

Having heard some of Perry Lunch’s work as a member of the Seattle Phonographers’ Union, I decided to have a look at the installation she put together with Lara Swimmer and Robert Zimmer, at Jack Straw Productions.

images projected onto the walls
shades of grey
one is always on the left wall
bells peal when it appears – a churchlike building under construction
other wall; small images fade in: a door, a brick wall, an enigmatic space
slowly missing bits appear, fit together, puzzle pieces
a façade
above the doors, pictures of walls are at a different angle
voices mumble, cough, pray, recite
mysterious place
where is it, exactly?
images disappear, leaving a white line or a void

This is both an art piece (not exactly a video installation) and a musique concrète composition. The images are projected (one of them is associated with loud bells ringing) while the recorded sounds shuffle in and out of reality – mostly voices in addition to the bells, and an occasional birdcall. The effect gives the impression of a historical documentary, though without narration. The pictures are all of fronts or sides of buildings in the remote Italian hill town, though their exact juxtaposition may or may not have anything to do with their layout in the “real” town. In the end it is up to the museum-goer to decide exactly what this documentary is about, and whether this is a real or imagined location.

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