The quality of silence, shared by the films playing in the Forum Gallery, allows simultaneous viewing of three highly artistic individual visions. Yet in their silence, each work employs intense visual noise through the manipulation of light and movement. With spastic gyrations, rhythmic flashes, and moving images, the films bring to life different objects, images, and histories, casting each in a new light.
In Punctured (2010), William E. Jones (American, b. 1962) sequences hundreds of photographs shot for the Farm Security Administration during the Great Depression that were rejected by program director Roy Stryker. Each frame zooms out from the black hole that mars, or “kills,” the photograph, revealing the image around the hole and quietly accentuating an absence. Joachim Koester’s (Danish, b. 1962) spastic film Tarantism (2007) takes its starting point from the effects of the tarantula’s bite and the dance that it spawned. A group of dancers individually interpret this state of reverie, to “explore this grey zone: the fringes of the body.” In Flash in the Metropolitan (2006), Rosalind Nashashibi (Palestinian British, b. 1973) and Lucy Skaer (British, b. 1975) capture statues and objects in the Metropolitan Museum of Art through rhythmic flashes of illumination. Ancient artifacts are reanimated, alternating moments of absence with moments of exposure.
Each artist exposes cultural and historical circumstances through altered perception. All the films loop, suspending actions and history in a cyclical present tense. Activated by the basic yet infinitely mutable ability of film and video to allow action to unfold over time, the works create a complex interplay between stillness and movement, agitation and contemplation, and darkness and light.