Sunday, 5 July 2009

Then there's the films of Pipilotti Rist, who we can but only know through her absurd self-portraiture. Imagine, I said as we sat long into the hot night watching her VHS works, imagine if this were a diary. That kind of documentation, when released from the coincidences and expectations of art, is true documentation. It is better seen that way, not as a series of abstract notions or blurred metaphors, but as honesty committed to video tape. Ignore the critical feminist rhetoric, the stabs at pop-culture, the tradition of experimental cinema - just for a moment - and view it as you would the secret recordings of a child. Odd little brazen flashes of personality, abetted by a camera lens, encouraged by permanence.

Something too about the technique the cheap double exposures blending into haunting overlays, rupturing edits, the evolving lines of static and visual interference, blankets of pale colour fading through the snow of disintegrating magnetic tape. The inerudite post-production brings out the motifs - the flower imagery, citrus fruits, unsettling nudity, tower blocks stretching into the sky, supermarkets, forests, cityscapes. And the humour, the feminist motifs supplanted - I think- by their own ridiculousness, what of these?

The soundtracks must not be forgotten, all dreaming lullabies and chansons, lo-fi pop epithets, like The Beatles remembered through the hazed memories of second-hand teenage obsession. Pipilotti offers us maxim of dreams, flying weightlessness, an unheimlich yet comforting carousel. It is said that if you stare into the eyes of another person for five minutes you will unavoidably fall in love with them. What about video cameras?

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