THE STORM - Vadim Schäffler
Animation Video / 7.01 MIN. / 784 x 3328 px / 2012
Disaster scenarios are ubiquitous in media discourse. Whether it’s the news coverage of natural disasters, imagery depicting the financial crisis, or the cinematic adaptations of blockbusters – disasters and their destructive forces have become a metaphor for extreme, abrupt and unpredictable change, for movement and rearrangement, for our impotence. The image of the whirlwind as a portal, a bridge, a medium of transformation and promise of a new realm or age, is employed and celebrated, especially in film. Countless action films made at Hollywood’s dream factories, as well as the initial ur-genre of the disaster movie, invite us to marvel at unfettered comprehensive destruction. The genre satisfies a love of spectacle, a fascination with horror, technological scepticism and a voyeuristic penchant for destruction. Earthquakes, volcanos, tornados, storms, apocalyptic scenarios, visual overpowering and ever-increasing special effects assume the role of the protagonist. The lives of those who inhabit these “scenarios of the extreme”, are synchronously subjected to a change corresponding to the catastrophe. The disaster provides the filmic development of the character with a suitable visual counterpart: the more disaster, the more potential for development, it would seem.
In the video piece “The Storm”, the storm is unhinged from the narrative structures and conventions that govern the genre; it whirls forth, overwhelmingly, calmly, steadily. The spectacle is thus depicted as a permanent condition. Fragments of civilization are engulfed by the tornado, only to be dropped to the ground again after brief intervals. Jagged chunks of concrete, lumps of wall, sand and banknotes are sucked into the tornado’s funnel again and again. Groups of people approach the storm, following its gyrating motion, exposing themselves to danger, only to disappear again into the plains, without having traversed the eye of the storm.