This is a simulated installation version of the video. The actual video piece is made up of two separate HD video projections on two separate walls of a gallery.
Total running time: 9 mins 19 secs
2 Channel HD video projection (with 3 soundtracks)
Copyright © 2010 Rob Carter
Culte is a high definition, two-channel video projected onto adjacent right-angled walls. The product of an eight-month period of time-lapse photography, it uses architectural and plant imagery to conflate ideas of mysticism and the concrete, of illusion and devotion.
Initially the viewer observes a tangle of dead plants that re-absorb their fluids and return to life. As the video develops the plants appear to grow and shrink, and ultimately ‘un-grow’, burying themselves back into the soil from which they once emerged. As the un-growth occurs, the forest clears to reveal an architectural fantasy: a model building made out of photographs of European Gothic cathedral architecture. However, this is not a normal cathedral of Christianity, but a sports stadium complete with an evergreen artificial playing surface. As the jungle of plants changes and simplifies we hear them rustle and slurp, while simultaneously the dual-purpose architecture is characterized by the passionate sounds of its visitors: sounds of religious and sports chanting and singing. These sounds represent the harmony that can be brought about by these activities, and also the single-minded devotion of such communities and their participants.
Culte is the French word for worship, but like the English word cult and cultivate it derives from the Latin word cultus, meaning to have been cultivated, nurtured, or figuratively to have been honored or worshipped. The combination of these meanings brings together ideas of both material and ideological promotion: our lives often revolve around such contradictory choices and preconditions. The video represents the contrasts and similarities between the mysticism of the natural world (that is clearly visible through technology) and the comparative devotion of a shared belief, whether it is in God or a team, or the community that those institutions encourage. Of course, the human race is reliant on the ability to feed itself, so the video can ultimately be read as a satirical representation of plant worship; referencing recent Western semi-religious movements like locavorism, bioregionalism, and the organic food movement.