by Henry Hughes
While Black Hole by Nadia Hironaka and Matthew Suid primarily presents a feast of high definition images and a strange narrative evocative of David Lynch, it’s most interesting accomplishment is within it’s presentation: the void.
Upon walking into the dark room and viewing the video, it’s a quick linear thought that links the title to the image of a hole in a wall sucking in dust particles. This, you think, is the black hole. But when you sit on the bench, 7 feet away from the screen, and the video fades to black, another black hole emerges. Rather than the standard rectangle of projector “black”, which often brings us back to the reality of being in a darkened theater or room, we are presented with an ominous grey cloud, a void floating in a space that is both just in front of us and completely foreign and distant.
James Turrell offers us this same phenomenon in pieces such as Catso, Red (1967), or A Frontal Passage (pictured right), where light becomes a dimension, a plane which we are not sure how to process. With Black Hole, this void becomes an entryway into what follows. We are put into a realm that is unknown to us, which makes everything else in it believable as a reality. It suspends the thought that Black Hole is a video: it becomes another set of eyes rather than a window. This notion is also enforced with some rather dream-like imagery (a bird flapping helplessly in space, which may or may not be a computer generated image), and at points deconstructed (moments when the blur of the frame is disrupted into a hard edge by bright light).
It is interesting to think of how the piece would be altered when viewed on a monitor; when the frame is reestablished and it’s objectivity takes a higher position. The same feeling and question came to mind after seeing Michal Rovner’s Fields of Fire at Pace Wildenstein in New York a few years ago, in which the reality of the room was lost due to the nature of the presentation (there were no bright colors in the video, causing the room to be especially dark). Like Black Hole, it all came down to that sublime moment of being lost in the act of viewing. This moment is all too often lost within video, where the focus is primarily on filmmaking or an action being performed, rather than an experience.
[Henry Hughes is an artist who occasionally lives and works in Philadelphia. Black Hole is on view at Vox Populi through March 30th]
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Monday, March 17, 2008
by Henry Hughes