[-empyre-] Re: in memoriam Thierry Kuntzel (Timothy Murray) empyre Digest, Vol 29, Issue 24

I do really appreciate what Timothy Murray said in his post "in memoriam
Thierry Kuntzel"

Due to my age (28) I had the chance to know Thierry Kuntzel work and that of
Isaac Julien at university,
and I really appreciate the feeling and emotions Timothy expressed in his
post, expecially talking about his lecture.
Who could be possible to go deep through the world of art and video and
HISTORY if such insipired professors, teachers, people out there didnt'
teached us the way to feel that, feeling themeselves in their own bodies and
So thanks indeed for this strong and intense "memoriale"!

silvia scaravaggi

> ------------------------------
> Message: 5
> Date: Fri, 27 Apr 2007 13:45:20 -0400
> From: Timothy Murray <tcm1@cornell.edu>
> Subject: Re: [-empyre-] in memoriam Thierry Kuntzel
> To: soft_skinned_space <empyre@gamera.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
> Cc: anne-Marie Duguet <am.duguet@laposte.net>, David Rodowick
> <rodowick@fas.harvard.edu>
> Message-ID: <p06100501c257dc691980@[]>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1" ; format="flowed"
> >Sean,
> I deeply appreciate your posting such a deeply
> moving tribute to Thierry Kuntzel who was a dear
> friend and superbly smart and subtle artist.
> Yesterday, at the same moment Thierry was being
> laid to rest in the Père Lachaise cemetary in
> Paris, I happened to be giving a lecture to my
> students in Introduction to Visual Studies on
> queer video in the age of AIDS.  This is a
> lecture that fits well with our -empyre- theme of
> TechnoPanic: Technology and Terror since so many
> of the tapes made in collaboration with ACT UP
> and other  international AIDS activist groups
> turned to the technological experimentations of
> video to grab back, through form and content, the
> discourse on AIDS from the media panic generated
> around the disease in order to make thoughtful,
> provocative, and sometimes wistful interventions
> on the complicated terrain of desire and disease.
> As, Isaac Julien urged his viewers, "feel no
> guilt in your desire."  At the opening of this
> class, I suddenly realized that I was screening
> Julien's sublimely gorgeous and melancholic tape,
> "This is not an AIDS Advertisement," at the
> precise  moment of Thierry's funeral.
> Just as coincidental as Julien's evocation of
> loss in the face of death, and so uncanny  that
> tears filled my eyes in front of my class, was
> that I follow this tape every year with a
> contextual explanation of independent art
> production in the age of AIDS, a lecture that
> opens with images from Robert Mapplethorpe's
> Black Book and my retelling of  Mapplethorpe's
> memorable account of how most of the black boys
> he photographed  in the seventies had preceded
> him in death by the late eighties because they
> lacked the access to and financial resources for
> the experimental drugs that kept Mapplethorpe
> alive with HIV a little bit longer.   As I was
> recounting this anecdote to my class,  I stood
> with amazement when I realized that an image
> filled the screen of one model who survived
> Mapplethorpe, Ken Moody.  Those of you familiar
> with Thierry Kuntzel's later work in video
> installation will appreciate the uncanniness of
> Moody's presence on the screen, at that very
> moment marking the celebration in Paris of
> Thierry's friendship and artistic and theoretical
> accomplishments.  It was Ken who collaborated
> with Thierry in his complex video adaptation of
> Poussin's Four Seasons.  Most telling is the
> sublime image from the installation, "Winter: The
> Death of Robert Walser" that haunts me still this
> afternoon.  This 3 track installation depicts the
> body of Ken Moody, wrapped in a scrimlike shroud
> whose folds envloped in white light come to rest
> momentarily on his suddenly opened eyes.  The
> track of Moody's deathlike body  is framed on
> either side by screens of cobalt blue (the cobalt
> blue that happened also to mark for Derek Jarman
> the wistfulness of his own gradual blindness and
> subsequent death from AIDS).  In an article about
> this installation, I make the connection between
> the wistfulness of perceiving "Winter: The Death
> of Robert Walser" from within the cobalt haze of
> Jarman's Blue and his own death at the sime time
> period.
> Now I find myself again enveloped in video's
> inhuman field of touch and techne. I now find
> myself again witnessing the electric cobalt blue
> borders of Thierry Kuntzel's Winter while haunted
> by my projections of his own enshrouded figure as
> it speaks to us from something like Derek Jarman
> who described his crypt of Blue:
> "Blue protects white from innocence / Blue drags
> black with it / Blue is darkness made visible /
> Blue protects white from innocence / Blue drags
> black with it / Blue is darkness made visible . .
> . For Blue there are no boundaries or solutions.
> / How did my friends cross the cobalt river, with
> what did they pay the ferryman?  As they set out
> for the indigo shore under this jet-black
> sky--some died on their feet with a backward
> glance.  Did they see Death with the hell hounds
> pulling a dark chariot, bruised blue-black,
> growing dark in the absence of light?"
> The lively specters of these sounds and images
> add melancholic weight to my cherished memory of
> Thierry Kuntzel as read through the cobalt traces
> of his cinematic brothers and sisters whose
> memory resides with his in the quiet of Arcadia.
> Tim
> >there is the awful leaden weight of death over
> >the thought of Heidegger. what is so depressing
> >about it is the absurdity which he gives it: the
> >meaninglessness. I don't mean that deatth is
> >intrinsically meaningful, but that it has many
> >meanings, for specific dyings. And each is
> >embedded in a locale, in a world, among the
> >living and the dying, for whom it means immensely
> >
> >Thierry Kuntzel's Nostos is currently showing at
> >ACMI in the Beaubourg touring video
> >retrospective. It is a lovely thing, the
> >inhabitance of a room with light, recorded in
> >greyscale, on a bank of (memory supplying
> >details) nine monitors in a 3x3 grid  (might be
> >4x4). They are heritage boxes, and the light
> >trap is excellent, so you are alert to the
> >fading of light, the flare in the camera - which
> >would have been a tube camera, liable to comet
> >tails and saturation - and the sluggish decay of
> >the phosphors in the old tubes, longer and
> >slower than the modern ones, and longer and
> >slower than the simple line scan overwriting a
> >flare of brightness. Because the light trap is
> >so good you're aware of the blaze of light - you
> >are basically in night-vision mode, all rods,
> >few cones, straining after the photons, but when
> >they burst your rods flare out and carry the
> >afterimage.
> >
> >These beautiful artefacts (as engineers will
> >call them - unexpected or unwanted products of
> >the technology) are integral to the devices it
> >is shown on (I recall seeing a single channel
> >version years ago at the Institut Francais in
> >London, in a dimmed but ambient-lit room, very
> >differently - i recall a blue tone to the image
> >there, but that might be a trick of memory).
> >These screens will eventually lose the capacity
> >to show the work, and it will be reconstructed,
> >in a new form on new screens. With luck it will
> >be around for years to come, transferred to new
> >storage media. Perhaps the archivists will try
> >to register some of these artefacts - tone the
> >screens with an ambient grey to denote, or point
> >towards, the off-black quality of video black
> >back in the day.
> >
> >The archive of digital materials points us
> >always to the fundamental ephemerality of this
> >seeing, this version, this event, this mounting
> >and staging, this moment of viewing which is so
> >tragically tied to time, but which makes its
> >statement against panic by offering, as the
> >obverse of tragedy, the utterly now.
> >
> >Kuntzel's Nostos is its own tribute to the way
> >electronic media more perhaps than any other
> >except performance -- which Nostos records in
> >the actions of the woman in the room we see
> >passing light over the walls -- , or the media
> >of everyday interactions, kisses, kindnesses -
> >the way electronic media can, if they wish,
> >announce their own fading as integral to their
> >experience.
> >
> >In this way Nostos teaches us not to mourn, or
> >to mourn in the knowledge that life is for the
> >living, but dying is for the living too.
> >
> >
> >_______________________________________________
> >empyre forum
> >empyre@lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> >http://www.subtle.net/empyre
> --
> Timothy Murray
> Acting Director of The Society for the Humanities
> Professsor of Comparative Literature and English
> Director of Graduate Studies in Film and Video Studies
> Curator, The Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art, Cornell Library
> A. D. White House
> Cornell University
> Ithaca, New York 14853
> ------------------------------

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