Het fotografisch genoegen

2024-05-26T21:28:51+02:00December 31st, 2000|

“Nature is never wrong”
– Arjen Mulder, Amsterdam: Het fotografisch genoegen

Link to the exhibition 🔗 (in English)

“Reindeer in the snow. On a computer screen. In four rows of four, sixteen different images next to and under each other. Fifteen of the deer are standing still, while one is moving frantically. You approach the screen: the moving reindeer freezes, the other fifteen go wild. The effect: emotion, bewilderment. A primeval experience surfaces as soon as the reindeer start trotting. You take one step back and the animals freeze again, except for the one that stood motionless, which now bursts into frantic movement. The effect this time: being touched by timelessness, dismay, sadness at purity. The idea that the world could be stopped is existential poison; the Fates lay down their spools and sing; the song of the Sirens resounds. Leo Anemaet’s music, which accompanies the piece, reinforces the effect of the change.

Heimola is an interactive installation of hypnotizing simplicity and beauty. It is nothing but an interface between the machine times of photo and film. A photograph is the technical bearer of an illusion of immortality: our capacity to step out of the pace of time through an image and to preserve “the now” for once and forever. Our consciousness does not know its own death. But as soon as the photograph turns out to be a part of a film, this consciousness is reversed: time progresses inescapably, lightning-fast even. Film is the technological bearer of our illusion of transitoriness. Everything is headed for death.

In the installation we, the spectators, are the ones who put time in motion or make it stop. We are the ones responsible for the death of the reindeer. Mari Soppela tells us that every year in her native Finland, the free-roaming herds of reindeer in the north are rounded up in a corral, or “erotus”, as the Laplanders call it. Here, the ones that will be slaughtered are selected. The reindeer know this: for them the erotus is the place of death. To us westerners, Soppela’s installation is that place. By killing the reindeer, we become aware of what awaits us when our film becomes a photograph, our photograph a film. Human consciousness is being aware of our own mortality, of the mortality of everything on this earth. Including the most beautiful thing of all: reindeer in the snow.”

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