This three channel animation video installation with live sampled ambient sound was projected as part of the 2008 City of Santa Monica Glow Festival. Tonalism, a curated program by Cindy Bernard of SASSAS and Alejandro Cohen of Dublab, transformed the historic Looff Hippodrome Carousel 100' diameter circular ceiling into a site for video art. Sound was sampled and improvised live by Part-Time Punks dj's Michael Stock and Sam Cooper.
The idea behind Vicious Circle was to create the feeling of an internal storm within a place of shelter.
My hypothesis was exacerbated by navigating the obstacle course that became the floorspace in combination with a high-relief surface hostile to video projection. I worked with new parallels to my previous observations of complicit distance: nostalgia regarding the carousel and critical observations derived from two canonical paintings: Michelangelo Buonarroti’smassive fresco Sistine Chapel Ceiling (1508-1512) and J.M.W. Turner’s
Snow Storm - Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth (1842).
Sistine Chapel Ceiling is event: a depiction of immaterial power condensed into multiple narratives covering and penetrating an overwhelming physical space at once, impossible to approach directly. This was the strategy in the edit: to take two disparate works and mash them up while enhancing the possibiities for operatic narrative. Snow-Storm became a organizational floor plan while gestures became both sequenced and redacted. The swirling movement of Snow-Storm was still present, if mechanically in the projection, then organically in a cyclone-symbol like choreography of the room and its entry points.
I also found direct confrontation with possible and perceived failure became a valid entry point into making work. The design structure of the Looff Hippodrome ceiling is as beautiful a readymade surface as it is difficult for projection. Like Sistine Chapel Ceiling, the Hippodrome ceiling could be treated as a surface for painting, but emphasizing palimpsest over skim coat. In this case, the skim coat would be the animation projection crawling and rolling over the surface.
Closer to the floor than Sistine, the downward slope of the Hippodrome’s interior cupola emphasized a sense of gravity. It could bring narrative and pixelated abstract expressionism down to earth, raining down and rising up while spinning round, unraveling itself, aiming toward opera. As such, the Hippodrome experience made me consider movement through and across space more carefully.