Hyvinkää, Hyvinkään taidemuseo

Interactive video installation for 4 video-projectors, 2 telephone booths, booklets and prints.
4 video editings from 2’33’’ to 4’19’’.

Two telephone booths, illuminated only by a dim neon light, are set up in the centre of a dark room. Every now and then one of the telephones rings. Entering a booth and picking up the receiver sets in motion projections of four montages on the walls of the room, each a series of excerpts from a sequence of The Birds.

Scream aims to imprison the visitor within Image itself. The images displayed are of two types: images of Alfred Hitchcock’s work, which have been summoned to surge around the visitor as he stands either in the telephone booth or in the exhibition room itself, and the image of one of the major sources of inspiration for the film, Edvard Munch’s painting The Scream, the impression of which appears transposed in the various projected shots. Encircled by screens, the visitor is immersed within both the film and the Norwegian painter’s composition. Projected into the heart of the works he is invited to share the feelings of the characters and figures embodied within them.

The confinement of the visitor in the booth also refers directly to an episode from The Birds. The projected excerpts show Melanie trapped within a telephone booth and powerless against the attacks of the birds at Bodega Bay port. The shots are spread out across the four screens in the room, which recreates an overview of all perspectives of the attack and places the visitor at the heart of the scene.

As the title suggests, the installation also refers to Wes Craven’s film of the same name. It transposes the experience of the characters who, by answering the telephone, summon up the shocking presence of the assassin. The assassin’s mask evokes the face of the protagonist from Munch’s painting. The spectator’s identification with both images makes the experience doubly horrific. The ringing telephone in the centre of the darkness is like an effect of déjà vu, creating a sense of apprehension in the visitor. By triggering the images from The Birds, the visitor is invited to project this emotion around him, which is embodied in the apocalyptic visions depicted on the screens in the room. The link created by Scream between intimacy and external environment tends to transform the installation into an expressionist experience.

In the area set aside for the installation, the two telephone booths are positioned to give the visitor a privileged point of perspective. This is not so much because their position isolates the visitor through the images of Melanie in The Birds and the central figure of Munch’s The Scream, causing him to experience the same distress that they feel for being isolated within the storm, but because the booth structures propose a series of visual markers, enabling the visitor to regulate the approach of the projected images. Within the glass cage which holds him prisoner, the sets of images invite the visitor to establish confrontations between the Munch images and the film shots on display. The shots show some of the pictorial references of Hitchcock’s film, enabling the visitor to comprehend their subtleties.

In this installation, the references no longer simply invoke enclosure within the Image, rather immersion in the very fabric of the work. The references no longer favour a superficial look at the surface but an exploration of the layers that give the surface its depth. Understanding creates a specific framework for seeing, which is evoked by the walls of the telephone booths, each of which represents a filter of vision. Thus the booths provide a unique perspective which allows the restructuring of the film, as emphasised through the process of triggering by the visitor, the projections themselves and their distribution on the four screens in the room.

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Copyright © 2016 Laurent Fiévet