Shadow Piece

2005, single-channel video projection, black & white, stereo audio, 30 min 19 sec loop

Shadow Piece is set in the 1950s. We are on the stairs of an empty hall in a public building, looking towards the sunny street through a wide glass door. Occasionally, people walk up from the street to the door, and try to get in. Since the doors are closed, none succeed in getting in, and all finally decide to leave.
In Shadow Piece, what is at stake is the modern promise of a clean, orderly and brightly lit future. In a partially digitally composed film (which actually is black-and-white archival photograph) we see people trying to enter a modernist building in vain. Over the course of 31 minutes, the balance and cleanliness of the composition gradually degrades into feelings of failure. The impossibility of accessing the building functions as a metaphor for photography and video as a time machine into which the spectator is unable to enter, as well as the utopian modernist dream that was never fulfilled. 

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David Claerbout ©2024