Sunday, 26 October 2014

Ragnar Kjartansson and Artes Mundi

It's Artes Mundi time again! The welsh festival for contemporary and conceptual artists is back and this time the exhibition has extended to locations other than the national museum of Cardiff, which is a bit of a trek to reach so I went along to the photography exhibit which is a little closer to me and saw some amazing stuff. 

There was some incredibly heartfelt pieces by Sanja Ivenkovic who I would suggest to anyone looking at art and violence or war, the piece about donkeys sounds like it wouldn't be interesting until you properly looked at it. 

But my favourite piece was a film experience by Ragnar Kjartansson, I call it a film experience because it was just that. We entered the room upstairs and found seven films being projected on to the  different walls and a few stools in the middle. Titled The Visitors, the films work in real time, all in sync to show different areas of an old slightly disheveled stately home, singing in perfect harmony, in terms of timing rather than pitch.

It was incredible as the screens were all around you and you had to move and look at the different screens to figure out what was happening and sometimes the singers would move from room to room and they'd appear on a different screen. It was so weird to watch things just happen, no jump cuts or fancy editing to speed things along, it just flowed. I think that's the magic of the film, as it was shot in one take things just happened and you could never tell if that was planned or not. Like at the end camera men would wander round the house turning off the camera's and letting the screen go black, and sometimes you'd see one of the crew in the back of shot and it just felt natural. I loved that the song was repeated for the whole time, it ends (spoiler alert!!!! jk) with everyone running out onto the bleak misty field surrounding the house. 

It's kinda beautifully capturing because its like nothing I'd seen before, I found the whole thing on YouTube but I dont think it has the same feel, it couldn't really. It did give me a good idea for using a projector in photography, like a makeshift camera obscurer.


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