[-empyre-] Artwork #11: Beny Wagner - We're All Here
robertrapoport at gmail.com
Fri Jul 27 07:32:01 AEST 2018
Three minutes into Beny Wagner's "We're All Here" we, or rather 'you' are
invited by a reverb-heavy voice to "Come into the world, my child". A lone
figure in camouflage crawls between rocks. The landscape is a kind of
archetype-- regularly spaced boulders raked as though on a proscenium
stage. As the figure becomes more salient, this landscape becomes more and
less legible: Video mattes and masks emerge. The landscape becomes
camouflaged to itself. Amid these visual inversions, the voice seems
increasingly certain that this is not an imagined space, but a real one.
Is this a visual pun? A camouflaged body, trying to enter the work by
disappearance? The body multiplies, following its echo across the erratic
second-person imperatives. Come into the world? Profane to sacred, ok, but
now sacred to... what? The voice-over stops.
An ear, a threshold, and then a drone moving through the forest canopy.
Like a screen saver for a user that has forgotten how to see the
forest/trees. Selective focus seems to say that this data is not for you.
Is this what the world looks like after the invite has been accepted?
Are we now 'in the world', having hitched our perceptions to a quad-copter?
Cut again to a chimp caught on some power lines. This is Japan, a quick
google reveals. The chimpanzee escaped from a city zoo. An army of city
employees gathers to invite this one animal back into their world. The
animal, not surprisingly, does not want to go. Eventually, the chimp grabs
the wrong wire and convulses. Beautifully, it hangs on to the same
infrastructure that has immobilized it: it was electrocuted. The chimp, on
last iconic glance at the sky, falls to the waiting humans.
Now, coming into which world? Again a moving camera, blurrier yet. We hear
the hiss of a soda can tab that opened the film.
What can we conclude about the moving camera only being used for
non-sentient landscapes? Where is cognition in these assemblages that
Wagner presents us with?
On Sun, Jul 22, 2018 at 11:38 PM Daniel Lichtman <danielp73 at gmail.com>
> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> -edit, music, sound effects tell me to read this as a film, and tell me to
> try to understand the narrative of this work, whatever that may be and
> however it works.
> -unfocused image of older woman in beginning strongly reminds me of the
> extremely amazing work of Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel,
> Commensal, which I saw at Documenta 14. It documents a very slow, often
> silent, conversation between a man and his brother who murdered a fellow
> student and then ate that person. It is shot fixed focus—only in focus
> whens subjects happen to be the right distance from the camera lens.
> -after the opening sequence of ‘mum’s last words’: is the rest of the
> video her dying dream? “complete immersion in its [the landscape’s]
> materiality”—is that what’s happening to her?. The sound of the soda can
> opening cues the next scene—“I turned every leaf into an eye”
> -of course the question: who is “I”? And where’s this forest? Who’s the
> man narrating “come into the world my child”? How does his accent prompt
> the viewer to interpret his message?
> -flash of green—then green screen editing, multiplying the body moving
> through the forest, which has become ‘camouflage’, for forest, perhaps,
> rather than ‘just’ forest.
> -relieved by the closeup shot of camo being applied to the face and ear—a
> body feel available for immediate relation (even though it isn’t; as if HD
> video were not a mediating medium) vs. filmic cutting of scenes in the rest
> -gorilla (ape?) on the wire—interesting to put found video into this work
> (unless artist had big budget and access to animals/trainers). first time I
> watched this scene choked me up. felt bad for the ape. this scene has it
> all—nature vs. human. human infrastructure and power on view; the will of
> nature on view.
> -decent into the ear, and subsequent footage feels like entering a dream
> of media-consciousness (maybe drug induced). is this where human and nature
> meet? self and other? human and animal? material and immaterial?
> -soldier in grass seems to be the protagonist, if the protagonist is not
> the video editor.
> -i was wondering if credits would say music or sound—they say sound.
> On Sat, Jul 21, 2018 at 7:13 AM Daniel Lichtman <danielp73 at gmail.com>
>> Beny Wagner
>> We're All Here
>> Video Link:
>> Beny Wagner is an artist and writer based in Berlin. Working in moving
>> image, text, installation and lectures, he constructs non-linear narratives
>> which investigate ecological, linguistic, and technological modes of
>> mediation and how these give shape to the parameters of consciousness and
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
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