ART— ROSA BARBA

BOMB Magazine - - CONTENTS - by Joan Jonas

Dur­ing a train ride from New York to Mas­sachusetts, Rosa Barba and Joan Jonas ex­changed thoughts on vol­ca­noes, deserts, and po­etry, on film ver­sus video, and the lay­er­ing of time and place in their works.

Ital­ian film­maker and sculp­tor Rosa Barba (cur­rently based in Ber­lin) and New York video and per­for­mance artist Joan Jonas have crossed paths at ex­hi­bi­tions around the world and have fol­lowed each other’s work for years. This con­ver­sa­tion be­gan in Novem­ber 2014 when the two rode a train to­gether from New York City to MIT in Cam­bridge, Mas­sachusetts.

JOAN JONAS: We are look­ing out at a sunny au­tumn land­scape. Later we will pass the beau­ti­ful marshes. I will show you.

I was happy to see a re­hearsal last year of your Per­forma piece at An­thol­ogy Film Ar­chives and your film The Em­pir­i­cal Ef­fect (2009) at the LIST [MIT List Vis­ual Arts Cen­ter] a few years be­fore that. Your films are com­plex and ab­stract and they don’t give too much in­for­ma­tion about where the ideas come from. Though they make you feel that there is a lot of re­search con­nected to them and a deep foun­da­tion of thoughts. Some of that was re­vealed in your book White Is an Im­age, es­pe­cially in Lynne Cooke’s text about Som­nium (2011), where I learned that it was inspired by Johannes Ke­pler’s science-fic­tion novel with the same ti­tle.

ROSA BARBA: Yes, Ke­pler’s Som­nium presents a de­tailed imag­i­na­tive de­scrip­tion of how the Earth might look when viewed from the Moon, and the novel is con­sid­ered the first se­ri­ous sci­en­tific trea­tise on lu­nar as­tron­omy. I am very cu­ri­ous about as­tron­omy and I of­ten use the lan­guage of science fic­tion in my films. Som­nium was shot in Rot­ter­dam at the con­struc­tion site of a gi­gan­tic new har­bor that will open in 2030. It’s a new hub for Europe and Asia and its mostly ar­ti­fi­cial land­scape has a time­less qual­ity.

JJ: There is only one hu­man pro­tag­o­nist—a bee­keeper—in the mid­dle of all that con­struc­tion and fu­tur­is­tic land­scape. I’m re­minded of Pierre Huyghe’s work. Like you, he doesn’t re­veal too much in his vis­ual lan­guage, but he nav­i­gates view­ers through com­plex and deep lay­ers. It’s an in­tu­itive and poetic un­der­stand­ing, not doc­u­men­tary at all. How do you de­cide upon the de­gree of rev­e­la­tion?

RB: I like to of­fer ac­ti­va­tions with my works, start­ing con­ver­sa­tions through cer­tain or­ches­tra­tions of im­age, sound, and text. Of course there are al­ways so many other lay­ers of nar­ra­tive that come up dur­ing my re­search, other pro­tag­o­nists or places that carry lots of in­for­ma­tion with them into the film, in­di­rectly. I am not very in­ter­ested in works that mainly man­i­fest their re­search ac­tiv­ity. I try to reach the point where I feel the in­for­ma­tion re­veals it­self in­side the im­agery.

JJ: You deal a lot with ques­tions of ge­og­ra­phy, with en­vi­ron­men­tal changes and the so­ci­ety that causes them. Your work is not ob­vi­ously po­lit­i­cal but it is in another sense—as a sort of af­ter­im­age. Some­times you take frag­ments

of sound, per­for­ma­tive el­e­ments, and text—for in­stance, a Robert Cree­ley poem in The Long Road— to con­struct a nar­ra­tive. Tell me about The Long Road (2010). Many writ­ers made the con­nec­tion to Robert Smith­son’s Spi­ral Jetty. I don’t re­ally see this be­cause Smith­son was cre­at­ing a sculp­ture in the land­scape, whereas you find and trace it with your cam­era. You said the oval loop re­minded you of an Inca draw­ing.

RB: It’s a whole lan­guage, a kind of al­pha­bet of an im­age en­gi­neered into the earth. The film shows an aban­doned race­track that has re­ceded back into the land­scape. I am an ob­server of this record; I am in­ter­ested in how it re­lates to re­al­ity, not just as a pre- ex­is­tent form, but as a po­ten­tial con­di­tion or as an imag­ined ob­ject—a part that re­mains be­hind or con­sti­tutes a break within the nar­ra­tive.

JJ: I like how you end the oval loop move­ment in the air and how you are then ac­tu­ally driv­ing on the street, po­si­tioned at the ground level as the cam­era cir­cles the test track. Af­ter round­ing a curve, the cam­era en­ters a straight stretch, down which it speeds into the sun. There are shift­ing el­e­ments in the point of view and in the voice. Your edit­ing and the cam­era move­ments’ pac­ing with the fram­ing of im­ages and text in re­la­tion to the au­dio track is re­ally great.

How do you find your land­scape sub­jects?

RB: I think we al­ready carry in­side what we are in­ter­ested in. When we get to a place, we look for this spe­cific sub­ject and see if we can find it there. I was in­vited to Swe­den, to Got­land, and that’s when I heard about the is­land Got­ska Sandön. So I de­vel­oped the film Out­wardly from Earth’s Cen­ter (2007), which is about an is­land in the mid­dle of the Baltic Sea. That is­land moves a me­ter away from the main­land ev­ery year by con­stantly chang­ing di­rec­tions. I made up a fic­tion about how a com­mu­nity tries to hold the is­land in its place. And a year later, at a time when I was in Swe­den a lot, I went to Kiruna, which is above the Arc­tic Cir­cle, and it be­came the lo­ca­tion for the web pro­ject that Dia Art Foun­da­tion com­mis­sioned. I changed the name Kiruna to Alkuna, which means “Nordic myth”; two nar­ra­tives meet and ma­nip­u­late each other in this work. The dis­place­ment of the town is due to cracks in the earth, which are a re­sult of the ex­ten­sive iron- dig­ging by a sin­gle cor­po­ra­tion that dom­i­nates the lo­cal econ­omy. The crack serves as a metaphor for unchecked cor­po­rate power.

JJ: How did you re­al­ize that you were an artist and what you wanted to do?

RB: I started to work with pho­tog­ra­phy at a young age and spent hours by my­self, tak­ing pho­to­graphs and de­vel­op­ing them. I made mu­sic, took lots of mod­ern dance classes, and thought that I would like to com­bine all this when I’d grown up. A few years later I started to make Su­per 8 films. Some of them were sort of non-in­for­ma­tion films, white im­ages or black im­ages, which is, in another sense, a lot of in­for­ma­tion. It was like mov­ing into a dif­fer­ent layer of nar­ra­tion, edit­ing a lot of white cuts, break­ing the nar­ra­tive. This be­came more ex­treme when the works needed no im­age at all; then they be­came more like sculp­tures.

JJ: Yes, like Western Round Ta­ble (2009). Two pro­jec­tors il­lu­mi­nate each other with pro­jected white light. How did you de­velop this work?

RB: It came out of my in­ter­est in “The Western Round Ta­ble on Mod­ern Art” meet­ings where a group of men

from art, literature, mu­sic, ar­chi­tec­ture, and other fields—among them were Mar­cel Duchamp, Arnold Schoen­berg, and Frank Lloyd Wright—dis­cussed artis­tic prac­tice. The first meet­ing was in 1948 in a mil­i­tary bunker in the Mo­jave Desert and, un­like the next two meet­ings, it was to­tally un­doc­u­mented and there was this sense of con­spir­acy around it. I wanted to give this a shape, re- en­act­ing the first meet­ing, in a way. In that sense, the work is more of a sculp­ture than a film. There are two pro­jec­tors speak­ing to each other. I took sound ex­cerpts from Fellini movie scores writ­ten by En­nio Mor­ri­cone and gave each pro­jec­tor a dif­fer­ent loop­ing sound­track. The two pro­jec­tors present a di­a­logue, shad­ows of the meet­ing’s pro­tag­o­nists star­ing at each other. This is a bitwhat we do with history in gen­eral—history is like a sculp­ture we look at.

You did some­thing sim­i­lar in your work Wind from 1968—a very im­por­tant work for me, it in­spiredme a lot. Ian White wrote me last year, af­ter he went to see my ex­hi­bi­tion in Mar­gate, say­ing that I make films about films. I was think­ing, now see­ing Wind again, that it is, for me, a film about film as well.

JJ: Land­scape and the el­e­ments have al­ways been part of my work, be­cause they are part of the space around us. My con­cerns are in re­la­tion to fram­ing and record­ing the land­scape and then trans­fer­ring this to the space of the place in which the work is pre­sented or per­formed. Wind en­tered as a co­in­ci­dence. When we were film­ing Wind in 1968, it was windy and so the wind be­came a char­ac­ter. I con­sider the land­scape a pres­ence or a char­ac­ter that plays a very strong role in all my work.

RB: We share that, hav­ing land­scapes and nat­u­ral forces as our pro­tag­o­nists.

JJ: I don’t do it con­sciously, but I deal with all those el­e­ments that you could call the sublime and the spir­i­tual as­pects of the world. That in­cludes the trou­bles we are in, with­out specif­i­cally say­ing it. I re­fer to the beauty of the nat­u­ral world, the mirac­u­lous in­ter­ac­tion of crea­tures in the en­vi­ron­ment. But I don’t want to be ro­man­tic, you know, so it’s just there with­out sen­ti­men­tal­ity.

RB: I think these are con­cerns that are shared by many peo­ple. Of­ten prob­lems man­i­fest in the land­scape first, be­fore it’s to­tally clear what’s go­ing on. That is the mo­ment when I feel very inspired to do a work about a par­tic­u­lar con­cern, not try­ing to of­fer a so­lu­tion but to of­fer dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives. By sus­pend­ing it, putting the con­cern up­side down, I feel there are still pos­si­bil­i­ties, at least in thoughts.

JJ: We know that our au­di­ence is­mostly with us, so in a way we are not try­ing to change their minds. I think it’s very im­por­tant to speak about these con­cerns. Po­etry can be po­lit­i­cal, of course.

RB: In your per­for­mance for Rean­i­ma­tion, you carry the po­etry with your body into the draw­ings and into the space. This is very beau­ti­ful.

JJ: The mu­sic—Jason Moran’s im­pro­vi­sa­tion and energy—does that, too. We started work­ing to­gether in 2005. You too work a lot with a com­poser for your films.

RB: I have worked with my hus­band, Jan St. Werner, for such a long time, that we don’t re­ally have to talk much about it any­more. I hand over my record­ings and he starts to of­fer things and then we mod­u­late it. I like how he makes sounds; he’s not a maker of sound­tracks, more like a Fo­ley artist. Ev­ery sound is cre­ated new on the spot and the edit­ing of the film is a live mo­ment, ac­tu­ally.

JJ: You also make ki­netic ob­jects where you give more at­ten­tion to form, but the ob­jects are per­for­ma­tive as well.

RB: With the ob­jects, I am in­ter­ested in a spe­cific ab­sence of im­age and in a bal­anc­ing act. I use my cam­era the same way when I record im­ages. I de­cide for a frame but then, when I point my cam­era to it, I have no con­trol any­more over what ac­tu­ally hap­pens in­side the frame. So the sculp­tures are si­t­u­ated in the frame I pre­pare for them, and then they start a con­ver­sa­tion with the dif­fer­ent parts of the ob­ject and with the ob­server.

JJ: This also hap­pens in your piece White Mu­seum (2010) where you point a pro­jected white frame onto a land­scape.

RB: In the white cin­ema light, some­thing opens up—another im­age ex­pe­ri­ence of this land­scape. On the is­land of Vas­sivière in France, they sub­merged a vil­lage into the sur­round­ing lake while build­ing a dam to power the is­land. There is a win­dow in the lo­cal mu­seum that was de­signed to frame the per­fect view from the is­land. In my ex­hi­bi­tion at that mu­seum in 2010, I put a 70mm pro­jec­tion of white light out of this win­dow fram­ing the land­scape.

Ev­ery­thing can be pho­tographed to be­come a rep­re­sen­ta­tion. Cel­lu­loid just shows what it is—it’s nei­ther past, nor fu­ture, it’s just this lit­tle ex­cerpt framed by light. This piece, over the years, evolved into a site- spe­cific work, which I in­stalled in dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions. At Turner Con­tem­po­rary in Mar­gate, it was fram­ing a part of the sea by low tide at night and it re­vealed what looked like an ab­stract paint­ing. The work was shown along­side J.M.W. Turner’s per­spec­tive stud­ies, which I chose.

JJ: Maybe you can talk a bit about where you see your works si­t­u­ated in time, their re­la­tion­ship to time, and how you see film as a time-based medium?

RB: I’m very in­ter­ested in com­pletely los­ing a sense of time and scale with my im­ages. Time for me means a kind of deep ge­o­log­i­cal time, like a time ex­po­sure in a pho­to­graph, but taken in a way that the im­age doesn’t blur—in­stead you see the depth and struc­ture of a move­ment or a history, with all its changes. I think of time as a lay­ered slab, with pe­ri­ods stacked on top of each other, rather than as a sin­gle stretched line. I of­ten feel that you need to find the right an­gle to look at that slab of time in or­der to see it. Us­ing my film cam­era al­lows me to be synced with or to be close to time, es­pe­cially when I film in wideopen spa­ces where time seems to ex­ist end­lessly in ev­ery di­rec­tion—it’s al­most three- di­men­sional. Look­ing through the cam­era, I of­ten feel that the process of cap­tur­ing time re­quires a spe­cific per­spec­tive. I’m very in­ter­ested in film also, be­cause you never re­ally know when the film ac­tu­ally hap­pens. Does it hap­pen when the light hits the cam­era lens? Does it hap­pen when it is de­vel­oped? Or does it ac­tu­ally hap­pen when it comes out of the pro­jec­tor and is thrown into a space?

JJ: Yes, that’s an im­por­tant ques­tion.

Well, tech­nol­ogy is chang­ing; time in film has dif­fer­ent im­pli­ca­tions from time in video. For in­stance, for me the story or the source might come from another time, like Halldór Lax­ness’s book Un­der the Glacier, which was writ­ten in the 1960s. But I al­ways bring my pieces into the present time—in this case I re­fer to the glaciers that are now melt­ing. But these are poetic rather than po­lit­i­cal state­ments. I think also the au­di­ence ex­pe­ri­ences the time of a per­for­mance in one way, which is very dif­fer­ent from the ex­pe­ri­ence of time in a gallery, where you are more or less in your own time, and you can look as long as you want, walk­ing and paus­ing.

Your film The Em­pir­i­cal Ef­fect (2009) made a strong im­pres­sion on me, es­pe­cially its sub­ject. There is some­thing about the way you make the work that is quite dis­tinct from a lot of other artists. You work with groups of peo­ple and you en­gage themin a way I find very unique. You also have great ti­tles. Why did you choose The Em­pir­i­cal Ef­fect?

RB: The film was shot around the vol­cano Ve­su­vio, in Naples, and the older pro­tag­o­nists in my film are peo­ple who had sur­vived the last erup­tion of the vol­cano in 1944. These are in­hab­i­tants of the con­stantly en­dan­gered, so- called red zone be­low the vol­cano. We shot in­side the old ob­ser­va­tory (Osser­va­to­rio Ve­su­viano) in Naples, which is si­t­u­ated near the crater. I used the ob­ser­va­tory as a sceno­graphic plat­form be­cause it al­ludes to a per­for­mance that un­rolls within a theater ofmem­ory. A small group of older peo­ple move around the seis­mo­graphic ma­chines. Sheep too walk around the ob­ser­va­tory and stare. They oc­cupy the place with the ac­tors, and ev­ery­one walks upon a largemap of Italy that is on the floor. We are ob­serv­ing a piece of an un­sta­ble re­la­tion­ship be­tween the so­ci­ety and pol­i­tics in con­tem­po­rary Italy. It’s an em­pir­i­cal ob­ser­va­tion guided by ex­pe­ri­ence and experiment. That’s why I chose the ti­tle.

Later in the film, I staged an evac­u­a­tion with a whole town (the best-known mafia town) since an of­fi­cial test evac­u­a­tion had been post­poned for many years.

JJ: We share a fas­ci­na­tion with vol­ca­noes. In my work Mi­rage from 1976/1994, there is a pro­jected doc­u­men­tary fil­mof a se­ries of vol­canic erup­tions. Later in 1985, I made a video called Vol­cano Saga in Ice­land. I think in our sense of struc­tures, we have a lot in com­mon, but the struc­tures them­selves are dif­fer­ent. I work with nar­ra­tives in my films, and in the in­stal­la­tions, I use other kinds of nar­ra­tives that are sim­i­lar to your type of con­struc­tion and frag­men­ta­tion—like what I ex­pe­ri­enced at your re­hearsal for Sub­con­scious So­ci­ety last year. As peo­ple en­tered the space, they were sur­rounded by the work, or parts of the piece.

RB: I do a lot of film­ing in the desert as well. I try to use my cam­era as a draw­ing in­stru­ment and I look for in­scrip­tions in this bar­ren land­scape, like in your piece, Rean­i­ma­tion. Your cam­era is a kind of wit­ness to the in­scrip­tions you per­form. Is this

some­thing you look for when you film as well, or is it some­thing that hap­pens later?

JJ: Usu­ally, it is some­thing that hap­pens later. But some­times I draw for the video. For Lines in the Sand I drew in the sand and filmed while I was draw­ing and the draw­ing be­came the nar­ra­tive. This footage then be­came a ma­jor back­drop for a new pro­ject. Draw­ing is one of the main el­e­ments of my work. I try to find dif­fer­ent ways of draw­ing in re­la­tion to the medium and the im­age and the nar­ra­tive. So the draw­ing func­tions dif­fer­ently in each piece.

RB: The draw­ing be­comes an ac­tor.

JJ: I guess, you can say that. The ges­ture of the draw­ing be­comes part of the lan­guage.

RB: For A Pri­vate Tableaux (2010), I walked un­der­neath the Mersey River in Liver­pool record­ing the subter­ranean city pump­ing air through these tun­nels. On the tun­nels’ ceil­ings are hand­made white draw­ings by the engi­neers who ex­am­ined the pres­sure cracks made by cars over­head. They are like cave paint­ings in a way. It is nearly im­pos­si­ble to imag­ine them as func­tional. They do seem to fol­low a cer­tain logic; they make some shape or other. I wrote a nar­ra­tive about these im­ages and cut the film with this text of pos­si­ble ex­pla­na­tions. There is a sort of di­a­logue—ques­tion and an­swer.

JJ: I like how you choose these very un­usual lo­ca­tions for your work.

RB: I’m al­ways in­ter­ested in build­ings that have changed their iden­ti­ties, that don’t have a spe­cific func­tion any­more, but where you can still find many traces of what they might have been be­fore, although you can’t be sure. It is a mo­ment of sus­pen­sion. That’s when I like to go in with the cam­era and ac­ti­vate these traces. But video and film cre­ate a dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence of time.

JJ: Tech­ni­cally, you can do so much more with video than with film in the per­for­mance. Video en­ables you to work with phys­i­cal and men­tal lay­ers.

RB: For me it’s very dif­fi­cult to think of how to trans­latemy ideas with video. In the per­for­mance Sub­con­scious So­ci­ety (2013), I used the ac­tion and sound of the 35mm pro­jec­tors start­ing up as travel medi­ums. They ac­cel­er­ated the pre­cise­ness of the im­age, but with a de­lay, which helped the au­di­ence to ad­just and be car­ried into the next thing. I’m not sure how I would have done this with video.

JJ: Do you al­ways work in film?

RB: Yes, but it’s get­ting a bit more dif­fi­cult, be­cause the film labs are clos­ing all over. There are still a few left in Europe. When I was a stu­dent, I would do tests for the labs. I would get the slightly old ma­te­rial for free and then the lab would de­velop it also for free, to see if it was still okay to sell. I could work cheaply that way.

JJ: Filmis very beau­ti­ful. I made a cou­ple of films in the ’60s, be­fore I started to work with video. But I was at­tracted to video be­cause I could do ev­ery­thing in my loft and I liked hav­ing that free­dom. While I shoot most of my videos my­self, I didn’t shoot the two films, I only di­rected them. I re­ally wanted to own the cam­era. The cam­era is my tool. And we can edit at home. I find the process of putting it to­gether and edit­ing very in­ter­est­ing.

RB: Edit­ing is also one of the most in­ter­est­ing things for me, af­ter the cam­era work. I can­not give the edit­ing away to another per­son.

I ad­mire how you had a real artist com­mu­nity in the ’60s and ’70s in New York. This seems to have changed.

JJ: I think the com­mu­nity now ex­ists ev­ery­where in the world, meet­ing at group shows, for ex­am­ple. As an artist now, you travel a lot and there is not a fixed space any­more, so the com­mu­nity ex­ists for me in a dif­fer­ent way. In the ’60s and ’70s, at a time of change

and in­no­va­tion, the com­mu­nity was smaller and one knew artists ex­per­i­ment­ing in film, sound, paint­ing, sculp­ture, video, dance, and so on— there was a di­a­logue. Now there is a con­tin­u­a­tion of that sit­u­a­tion and there is more of a di­a­logue be­tween young and old.

RB: How im­por­tant is the au­di­ence to you? I had never done a per­for­mance be­fore Sub­con­scious So­ci­ety in New York, so it was a new ex­pe­ri­ence for me and I felt very sen­si­tive to how an au­di­ence be­haves. For me, they were like ac­tors too. The first night there seemed to be a strong con­nec­tion but the next night I felt the au­di­ence was wait­ing and more pas­sive, which made it hard for me to keep up the energy.

JJ: You were not on stage, you were di­rect­ing from the side. So you were more in be­tween and look­ing at the au­di­ence. That’s more dif­fi­cult. I don’t wear my glasses when I’m on stage. I don’t want to see peo­ple but I know they are there. You have to put your energy into the per­for­mance it­self, not into what you think the au­di­ence might be think­ing. How­ever, an au­di­ence gives you energy; you can’t for­get that it is there.

You are very in­ter­ested in con­ver­sa­tions and round ta­bles. There is the ex­hi­bi­tion you cu­rated at the Reina Sofia in Madrid, which was a con­ver­sa­tion of art works from the col­lec­tion.

RB: Yes, where your Ver­ti­cal Roll par­tic­i­pated in the Round Ta­ble. The ex­hi­bi­tion was called “A Cu­rated Con­fer­ence” (2010) and I was in­ter­ested in how all these art works in the col­lec­tion live to­gether in stor­age. Maybe the cre­ators never met but their works were now in con­ver­sa­tion with each other. The aim of the con­fer­ence was to bring to­gether rep­re­sen­ta­tive works by artists of the twen­ti­eth and twenty-first cen­turies, and have their in­formed opin­ions re­spond to the sig­nif­i­cant ques­tions in art in 2010. In the ex­hi­bi­tion brochure I wrote that a set of neat con­clu­sions is nei­ther ex­pected nor de­sired. Rather, it is hoped that progress will be made in the ex­po­sure of hid­den as­sump­tions, in the up­root­ing of ob­so­lete ideas, and in the fram­ing of new ques­tions.

I drew a di­a­gram on the wall that ex­pressed the dif­fer­ent round ta­ble dis­cus­sions in the show. The video and film works were syn­chro­nized with each other and switched on and off at dif­fer­ent times. I ap­plied an or­ches­tra­tion struc­ture that I use with my films and ob­jects as well. There were ques­tions and an­swers be­tween the pieces. To men­tion some, Gor­don Matta- Clark’s Clock­shower was in there, Ewa Par­tum’s Ac­tive Po­etry, Paul Shar­its’s Word Movies, En­trance to Exit by Ge­orge Brecht, Eye Blink by Yoko Ono, and many more works. There were some sculp­tures as well, like Joelle Tuerlinckx’s Crys­tal Times and Louise Bour­geois’s Spi­der— you had to walk un­der the spi­der in or­der to get into the space. I wel­comed the an­ar­chic out­come pro­duced by a sit­u­a­tion in­which each artist speaks with their own voice in their own lan­guage, tem­per­a­ment, and vol­ume.

Af­ter this great ex­pe­ri­ence I con­tin­ued work­ing in mu­seum col­lec­tions and started the se­ries “The Hid­den Con­fer­ence,” where I went with my hand­held film cam­era into a stor­age space and tried to cre­ate, with the cam­era, di­a­logues be­tween the art pieces. It’s a tril­ogy now.

JJ: So, “The Hid­den Con­fer­ence” brings to light a sit­u­a­tion that, although ex­ist­ing for years as the writ­ten pro­logue in­forms us, has now taken on a cer­tain “de­gree of ur­gency.” The Western Round Ta­ble comes back again from another per­spec­tive.

You just fin­ished your res­i­dency at EMPAC [Ex­per­i­men­talMe­dia and Per­form­ing Arts Cen­ter] in Rens­se­laer, New York. You will show a new work there in the spring of 2015?

RB: My pro­ject at EMPAC is ti­tled The Color Out of Space and it’s a col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Hirsch Ob­ser­va­tory at Rens­se­laer. The work takes a re­cip­ro­cal ap­proach to as­tron­omy and cin­ema. A film com­posed of im­ages of stars and plan­ets, recorded by the ob­ser­va­tory over nearly a year, will be pro­jected onto EMPAC’s build­ing fa­cade, cre­at­ing an out­door cin­ema. A free ra­dio sta­tion around Troy will broad­cast a sound­track about the spec­u­la­tive in­ter­sec­tion of as­tron­omy and art. The sound­track will be in sync with the im­age pro­jec­tion and con­sist of voices from in­ter­views and fic­tion, which are read by artists and astronomers from var­i­ous lo­ca­tions. At the same time, a con­cur­rent 70mm film in­stal­la­tion at the ob­ser­va­tory from my se­ries “White Mu­seum” will pro­ject out of the plan­e­tar­ium’s dome into the sky. I hope you can be one of my read­ers for the sound­track.

JJ: I would love to. Let’s talk about it. We are al­most in Bos­ton now. We should get off at the next stop.

above: Still from SOM­NIUM, 2011, 16mm film trans­ferred to Blu- ray, color, op­ti­cal sound, 19:20 min­utes. Im­ages cour­tesy of the artist.

right: Still from THE EM­PIR­I­CAL EF­FECT, 2009, 16mm film trans­ferred to Bluray, color, sound, 27 min­utes.

op­po­site: Still from THE LONG ROAD, 2010, 35mm film, color, op­ti­cal sound, 6:14 min­utes.

left top: In­stal­la­tion view of WHITE MU­SEUM, 2010, Cen­tre In­ter­na­tional d’art et du paysage de l’île de Vas­sivière, France, 70mm white film.

left bot­tom: In­stal­la­tion view of SIGHT EN­ABLES US TO AP­PRE­CI­ATE DIS­TANCE, 2013, Turner Con­tem­po­rary, Mar­gate, Eng­land, 70mm film, alu­minium, neon lamps, and mo­tors.

Still from A PRI­VATE TABLEAUX, 2010, 16mm film, op­ti­cal sound, 7 min­utes.

above: Still from THE HID­DEN CON­FER­ENCE: A FRAC­TURED PLAY, 2012, 35mm film, color, op­ti­cal sound, 5 min­utes.

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