ICC Report

Anna DAVIS & OGATA Atsushi

Anna DAVIS and OGATA Atsushi
<<Should I Go or Should I Stay?>>

June 26th--July 12th, 1998
ICC 5th Floor Lobby

The video installation <<Should I Go or Should I Stay?>> is a collaborative effort by two Amsterdam-based artists, Anna DAVIS, an upcoming new Australian videomaker, and OGATA Atsushi, a Japanese middle-generation videomaker active mainly in Europe. They began to work together last year, the present work-in-progress displayed in the ICC 5th floor lobby, on the occasion of their visit to Japan, was a prototype towards a finished work planned for Amsterdam's Stedelijk Museum in the autumn.

Basically a videotape work in four parts, the work shows figures of a man and woman reflected on the rainswept ground, foxes walking in the snow, close-ups of flames, and a mother-like woman playing with a small child. All four elements are culled from old film footage, each screen treated with an effect and cycling in a one-minute loop. Over the various respective visuals, the artists have dubbed short narrations in English and Japanese.

The tapes were shown on plasma monitors affixed to stands of different heights situated about the perimeter of the lobby. It is difficult to perceive any given "message" per se from the images; all are merely repeating fragments. Though perhaps the impression given is of unclear memories of "time" as seen in those subjects.

Even the overdubbed narrations are but fragments of conversation between a man and a woman. Differences toward each other's actions is noted as the man in one tape moves to act and the woman stops him, or conversely the woman is about to act when the man stops her in another tape. The somewhat melodramatic tone of the narratives bear only the foggiest relationship to any of the visuals. Moreover, the voices are played at fairly high volume, echoing across the lobby in what seems a cacophony of a randomly repeating dialogue.

Viewers took interest in one monitor and its dialogue, only to be drawn to the conversation coming from the next--thus they found themselves wandering around and back between monitors, left wondering about the relationship between the unclear subjects and time and space of each of the tapes. This unsettled "tale" left to the imagination seemed to be the artists' main theme.

While barely sculptural as an installation, scheme in which the four videotapes were presented did make for an appreciation of the physical space. That is, the piece stood entirely on the space of the "taped works" themselves. Not that this was necessarily a minus; as one of the few "orthodox" pieces of video art to be shown at the ICC, I should stress that it seemed refreshingly different.

Lastly, both artists held a Gallery Talk on July 3rd, and introduced other of their recent works.

[GOGOTA Hisanori]

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