Stop Motion

May 20, 2006 - May 18, 2006

Edith Russ Haus for Media Art

Five pieces are presented in the exhibition, which provides an overview of the artists' work. The Edith Russ Site for Media Art shows early pieces, which deal with the presentation of filmic material in specially programmed databases. Every Shot, Every Episode (2000) is based on the action-TV-series Starsky and Hutch from the 1970ies in which two American policemen chase criminals. In I number the Stars (2004) the popular science-fiction-series Star Trek from the 1960ies is broken down into different categories and searched according to diverse criteria. The viewer is given the possibility to watch the series with the help the artists' search words: A database allows to retrieve events, objects, and emotions and the plot is broken down into constitutive elements. In other works the two artists restage famous Hollywood movies. Kiss (2002) recreates a key scene from the movie Body Heat (1981) by Lawrence Kasdan. In the erotic thriller and modern film noir William Hurt kicks down a glass door in order to kiss Kathleen Turner in a passionate embrace. The McCoys hired two actors to re-enact the two parts. The ten minutes filmed during this re-enactment are recombined over and over again by a computer – into an everlasting kiss. Other pieces indirectly refer to the production of Hollywood movies and the influence of their images on our perception. In imaginative projections and sculptural arrangements the artists unfold their own dreams and desires before the audience as a film set in Hollywood-fashion. Eternal Return (2003) and Double Fantasy IV (Religion) (2006), a work created for the exhibition in Oldenburg, consist of tableaux, which are reminiscent of toy-models, miniature-train-landscapes, and doll houses. Eternal Return is based on the movie The Gay Divorcee (1934) with Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire and addresses the topics of fantasy and memory. Dancing figures, captured from diverse angles, are projected onto a wall, where they call to mind the great era of Hollywood dance-films and their glamour. The intricate interplay of colour- and black-and-white-elements serves to highlight the relations between the imaginary and the real. In Double Fantasy IV (Religion) religion is the central theme.

Works Shown

The Kiss

2002, installation with custom software

In this installation, a red suitcase contains hardware and software that algorithmically reenact a scene from Lawrence Kasdan's 1981 film Body Heat. The McCoys film actors playing the parts of William Hurt and Kathleen Turner in a pivotal erotic moment of the film. The scene is then broken into short clips and digitized so that the actors images become manipulable as individual frames. Custom computer software selects these clips according to ever-changing patterns, creating a continuous live remix, projected at cinematic scale.

Horror Chase

2002, installation with custom software

This work is based on the climatic chase sequence from Evil Dead II. The artists re-enact the scene on a specially designed stage set. Each shot in the sequence is individually digitized. Custom computer software selects these clips at random, playing them back in a seamless but continuously variable way, changing the speed and direction of play. The images are projected at cinematic scale and the computer hardware is installed in a black briefcase, which forms part of the installation.

Eternal Return

2003, Installation with table-mounted kinetic sculpture

Eternal Return is based on the classic film The Gay Divorcee starring Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. Miniature dancing figures, captured from multiple angles, are filmed by live video cameras which cut from one shot to another, creating a video sequence evoking the original film. The soundtrack is an excerpt of the song The Continental. The project contains a platform with multiple motors and is projected into the space of the gallery

Double Fantasy 4 (god)

2006, Sculptural kinetic video installation with projection.

The artists are portrayed as children experiencing early spiritual/religious events. The sculpture consists of a vertically-oriented platform mounted on a floor-based stand. Miniature elements, lighting and cameras are mounted on either side of the platform. The live video cameras capture shots of the tableau, which are sequenced by computer into an endlessly looping live video, projected as part of the installation.

Every Shot, Every Episode

2001, installation with electronic sculpture

The source material for this work is a collection of 10,000 shots from Starsky & Hutch. Each episode is broken down into a series of individual shots. The artists have assigned key words to each shot: every plaid, every sexy outfit, every yellow Volkswagen, etc. There are 278 categories in total. Each category is archived on an individual video CD which is labelled in clear, bold lettering and installed in the gallery on a shelf. Video CDs are chosen by the gallery visitor and played via the built-in video screen.

I Number the Stars

2004, installation with electronic sculpture and discs

The first season of the original 1960s “Star Trek” series is broken down into a series of shots. Each shot is categorised by the artists according to a variety of keywords such as ‘events’, ‘objects’ and ‘emotions’. The clips associated with each keyword are assembled on a video CD. Each CD is labelled with a sentence beginning with the word ‘I’ that describes an action or a state of being, such as ‘I am sick’. The CDs are installed on a browsable shelf in the gallery, next to the suitcase, in which CDs can be played one at a time.