The Long Modern

Two movable painted frames, castors, two printed screenplays, photographs and clips.

170cm x 75cm x 40cm

2015

“EXT. MID-AFTERNOON

Black screen. You hear the close sound of pedestrian footsteps and traffic. The sound is ambient and decibel-friendly. Sharp cut to what appears as a white place-holding shot, seconds of adjustment and the white image becomes a plaster wall. As your eyes adapt you see the plaster is city-grey, dirt and moss collects where the wall meets the pavement. The camera frames its entirety and emphasizes the impassibility of a frontier. As if to answer a curiosity the camera tracks upwards by several degrees, revealing a strip of white paint behind. The adjustment to the surroundings alert you to a closer sound of footsteps. Having been previously distracted you are not clear of their origin. The camera’s adjacency presents a perfect stereo-experience and you discern the footsteps are travelling away to the right. The camera pans quickly and smoothly, creating a perpendicular angle to the wall. The wall is longer than you expected, and incongruous to the now-revealed street scene, you are somewhere in Central Europe. You recognise the style of some buildings; others are new and impersonal. The camera parallels the wall creating a pace slightly quicker than walking. The camera is unsteady; bobbing along the edge of the wall and you notice a concerted effort to stablise the shot, assuming that this is for your benefit. You are tracing the perimeter of the wall; there is enough space for you to stretch your arm to meet the cold plaster. The echoed footsteps are kept equidistant and the sound is constant, you begin to place those footsteps with your own as the camera’s movements occasionally synchronise with the far-off patter. The camera turns left as the wall continues through a rigid right-angle. In front of you an interruption of creaking metal moves through several gears of noise before coming to a conclusive snap of a locking mechanism.”

Haus Wittgenstein was designed by Ludwig Wittgenstein to house his sister Margaret Stonborough-Wittgenstein in Vienna. The completed building was earmarked for demolition in the late-sixties but saved when architect Bernhard Leitner successfully embarked upon a campaign to showcase the building’s architectural worth to the city of Vienna.

The 2 screenplays are set across the dual architectural spaces of The Memorial Hall and Haus Wittgenstein, using ambiguous narrative techniques to draw attention to the building, the unseen camera and the work. The screenplays are mounted onto movable and configurable apparatus which are dimensionally-based on the Haus Wittgenstein. The screens are attached to castors which reference both camera dollies and theatrical partitions.

 

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Installation view: ‘Why Would I Lie?’, RCA Biennale. 2015