Travel

1996-2013, single channel video, HD animation, color, stereo sound, 12 min

The idea for this work dates back to 1996, when I became interested in relaxation music, especially music used for medical purposes. The source for Travel was a work titled “Relaxation profonde” composed in the mid-1980s by Eric Breton, whose therapeutic music reduces stress by gradually slowing down the rhythm, ultimately inducing sleep monophony (droning sound), from which the patient is woken up with a lighter sound and exits the stae of relaxation accompanied by something like an ascending finale. One might expect the images that this music produces to be hightly predictable. After all, if sleep is the purpose of the music, suprises would be counterproductive.
And yet, while the visual part of the film follows the audio part like a servant, there is something about the end of the film that discretely disobeys the ascending finale in the music. It is as if an uplifting and a depressing finale co-exist, with not the slightest conflict in sight, nevertheless preventing a conclusion of the film.

The dispassionate yet cinematic character of the synthesizer, suggestive of “generic” images that anyone could imagine, of places in a dark and tranquil forest, prompted the decision not to film, but to use advanced computer-generated images. This choice reflects the search for a space that is beyond the specific, that wants to be generic like the music: it could be many places, but none in particular. After a three-year production  period, a continuous camera movement makes a journey starting in a park, entering into a dark European forest, then into an Amazonian jungle, and finally exiting the forest, revealing a nondescript farmland.

Travel is an attempt to prove to myself that I am capable of working with something that is simultaneously intelligent and banal in equal measure, and with no irony.

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David Claerbout ©2018