Max Dean ::
Mist, 2002

 

video installation

 

ZKM_Media Theater :: 02/01 - 16/2003
Opening : 01/31/2003, 7 pm

Animation: Kristan Horton
Production: Dean Baldwin

  Mist is a video projection on three screens, arranged in a shallow horseshoe configuration that emulates the physical shape of Niagara Falls. There are two alternating large motion views of the water falling that cover all three screens like a panorama. One is of a stationary shot of the crest line of the Falls, taken from directly above the precipice from which the water spills, tumbling onto the rocks below, generating clouds of mist. The second is a frontal view of the Falls taken at right angles to the Falls, with the top and bottom of the Falls cropped, displaying only a wall of rushing water.

This second view provides a backdrop and context for the integration of six short animated video sequences. Each of these smaller video clips begins with a pair of female hands entering the flow of water from the top of the screen, moving downward, caressing the water seductively, and eventually grabbing it as if it were a skirt. The hands then lift up this garment of water to expose a pair of women’s legs moving into various poses. The six different displays are each the undirected performance of a different unprofessional person, characterized by varying individual gestures and accoutrements, and ranging in style and desire from the matter-of-fact, to the steamy seductive.

At the end of each brief exposé, the hands suddenly release the aquatic skirt, permitting the water to crash back down to the bottom, restoring a comparative sense of reality and continuity to the documentary-like depiction of the Falls. Then, the overhead crestline shot reappears, as an interlude before the second documentary shot starts again, along with the several performances by the women, that are integrated with animation into this frontal portrayal of the Falls.

There are six different apparitions. The order of the video sequences of each woman's legs' appearances is set up to be at random, creating both anticipation and perhaps frustration, as a computer orders the playing of all six clips before reshuffling and re-presenting the six sequences. One may have to watch the same pair of legs doing their stint several times, or else wait a while to glimpse again the performance of a pair particularly fancied.

- Max Dean -