Please screen the video art works above and below and respond in the comments section below.
1. “Les Grands Ensembles” by Pierre Huyghe (1994–2001) – (Above)
(I was lucky enough to screen this piece above in full scale at the Guggenheim in 2002).
“On October 16, 2002, Pierre Huyghe was awarded the fourth biennial Hugo Boss Prize. Inaugurated in 1996, the prize was conceived to recognize and support contemporary artists making profound contributions to the cultural landscape. Huyghe has gained international prominence for works that explore the convergence of reality and fiction, memory and history. Incorporating film, video, sound, animation, sculpture, and architecture in his diverse works, the artist intervenes in familiar narrative structures to investigate the construction of collective and individual identities in relationship to various forms of cultural production. Huyghe is interested in both reading and making possible multiple, subjective reinterpretations of incidents and images that shape our realities. Through such retranslations, Huyghe offers a way for his characters and his viewers to take back control of their own images, their own stories.”
“At the Guggenheim, Huyghe presents a film installation, Les Grands Ensembles (1994–2001) that address alternative modes of representation and communication (the work has been compared to the attempts at contact in Close Encounters of the Third Kind). In Les Grands Ensembles a pair of bleak buildings, models based on 1970s French housing projects, enacts a subtle inanimate drama. Enveloped in fog, the uninhabited scene is both romantic and alienating. “These subsidized public projects ended up being an architectural and social failure,” explains Huyghe. “They were a corruption of Le Corbusier’s social and architectural Modernist theory.” Though meant to be temporary, these structures are still here, much as we may try to ignore them. Huyghe brings the buildings into view and gives them agency. “Without beginning or ending,” he says, “the two low-income towers dialogue in a strange Morse code given by the light of their respective windows, a blinking existence.”
2. “Tango” by Zbigniew Rybczyński – 1980.
Tango is set in one room with an increasing number and series of interesting characters that loop in and out of the composition over and over.
Can you stop watching? Tango won The Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 1983.
Questions to ponder and react to:
Tango is considered a “short animated film”, but is this a film? How would you describe it in 2018?
How would you describe both pieces technically? The year they were made plays a role for sure. Or does it?
What did you think of “Tango” and “Les Grands Ensembles” as a whole?
What is your interpretation of each piece? What is the artist communicating?
Does the art work(s) induce personal reflection in anyway? If so please share.
Do you find connections between these two works of Media Art? If so, please describe?
Please leave your reactions and responses in the comments section below.