Tryst (2013)

Single-channel HD video, stereo.
Digital video, digitized archive film, digital and digitized photos, sampled sound, animation.

Like most of my compositions, Tryst grew from a single image, in this case a trace of a classic nude. For centuries artists have illustrated scenes from mythology and religion. When I started, I thought I might pursue such a composition, the story of Iphigenia, just to see if I could pull it off. Working with the figure, one thing suggested another, including the dancing sailor appropriated from a film documentary by Walter Ruttmann, an image I’d had in mind for decades. The side drum in the audio was suggested by Iphigenia’s fate as well as by my personal experience. From 1969 to 1972 I was a trombonist in the United States Military Academy Band at West Point. We played many funerals, too often for very young officers, just graduated, who had been killed in Vietnam. The sound of our muffled drums as we slow-marched to the post cemetery is something I won’t ever forget. And as always happens, the piece took over. Having hijacked Iphigenia’s story to suggest images and structure associated with a specific narrative, I saw that the composition really spoke to something more broadly metaphorical, and so I framed it with the title Tryst, usually taken to mean a meeting between lovers, but in this case maybe not.

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Michael Lasater: South Bend Museum of Art Exhibition

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Michael Lasater: Video, Animation, Sound. A solo exhibition of new and recent work. South Bend Museum of Art, March 10 - July 8, 2012.

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