Light - video still

Video installation of either a single video or two videos on two screens.
2 mn 05 loop.

As its title suggests, Light is a piece on light. The image of a snowball thrown at Sonja Henie’s ice skate is the basis for a celebration of her brilliance, her power of wonderment, and ability to amaze.

The piece plays on the limits of the persistence of vision so as to give life to the ice skater’s body, shown busily readjusting her skate’s laces. While in a repeating shot that multiplies the projectiles thrown in her direction, the skater seems to be in continuous movement, giving the illusion that she turns her head ever further even though the fragment used paradoxically remains the same, beginning at its same starting point with every repetition. A subtle flickering resulting from the space created between the film’s tirelessly repeated excerpts makes reference to the camera and the movement of film through the projector. Beginning at regular speed, the video gradually slows to simulate a kind of malfunction -recalling that of the record player signified by the ice skater’s movement in Pardon Me, Boy!- as though the film were jamming the machine for some unknown reason. The handling of the laces transmits this resistance in the image, as does a momentary frown that abruptly changes the expression on the character’s face.

The motifs employed here and Sonja Henie’s movements eroticize the scene, resonating with the sexual themes of the Ice series as a whole. The piece does not fail to fleetingly identify the snowball thrower, who makes a very brief appearance at the beginning of the video. The momentary shot, sharply focused on the dynamic of the thrown snowball, is marked by the violence of the gesture, recalling John Payne’s behavior in You can do this. Moreover, the repetition of snowballs hitting the skate associates his attitude to a sort of release that takes his partner for its target.

Light exists both in the form of a single video and of two videos respectively devoted to each of the protagonists. This second version enables a more concrete rendering of the movement of light in space depicted by the regular fall of projectiles and reinforces the installation’s reference to projectors.

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Copyright © 2016 Laurent Fiévet