I might just preface this by saying that, in the making of eurovision
I was on a fast university net connection at Australian National University and was very interested in streaming video, and began to compose the frames for the world of multiple streams. So if you can imagine the work is really designed for an imaginary broadband world where you have streams coming down towards you. Imagine huge screens making a kind of wall or surface, connected to a fast network with multiple streams coming down, and with the ability to render from the server end on the fly from given parameters choosing from a media database. This raises many questions to do with narrative, and how to construct it within such parameters. That is what I was interested in with this work, as a kind of system prototype.
The interactive DVD version's interface is the Eurovision song contest entries, there are four and then each one launches a sequence featuring the Bergman and Godard cut ups. The work is constructed so that you can begin at any point ie any one of the four sequences, and see them in any order. However I am most happy when the work is played as a single screen video, ie from start to finish. The DVD interactive mode was an experiment. I think that this work is best when the audience is immersed in it, with the interactivity going on in the viewer's mind.
The sound was engineered by Shane Fahey at Megaphon Studios
in Sydney. A band called Out of the Hat
developed tunes and played along with the projected rough cut of the work. This was added to with loads of layers/samples and then mixed by Shane, live mixed I might add, as Megaphon is essentially an analogue studio, and assisted by Steve McMillan.
What I wanted to research in this work was narrative, how it functions and can re-function. I was interested in subtitles which in Australia we are using in visual culture and advertising in very interesting ways; in composition; in the logic of the repeat, looking at Warholıs repeating screen prints particularly the disaster series, and using the repeat as an asignifying strategy; and in further exploring video compositing software after effects.
I didnıt set out to use Godard and Bergman, I was using the tapes for tests. I was wanting to make a work somehow to do with what happens when someone is cast out of the group, totally cast out, and the Bergman film has this exact story as one of its subplots.
I am also very interested in artistsı re-use of media . This is the stuff that constitutes the way we think, it directs the way we think and yet to cut it from its proprietry context and make another thing is somewhat illegal --- itıs a grey area. IP is essentially a royalties issue. I make something, you want to re-use it, you pay me. However with advertising, I make something in order for you to remember it. If you do remember it and want to reprocess it, you canıt. And in this world of every moment being videotaped, photographed etc every treasured moment
being recorded --- therefore a time when the technical image
constitutes the individualıs memory --- in this pay-per-view world youıll have to pay royalties for simply remembering an image, or to remember your own life.
uses images from the Louvre --- Ingesı the Turkish Bath
, and also all the icons of the madonnas. A while ago the Australian Financial Review was advertising SONY digital cameras saying "go to paris and bring the mona lisa back with you" with a pic of the painting on the screen of a camera. They do allow you to take whatever images you want in the Louvre (no flash) however when you remember that Bill Gates owns the copyright on Louvre images, such generosity takes on a more sinister edge.
, I was working with the idea of truth to materials in a digital environment --- what happens when you throw all these elements into the digital, which is why I stick with the use of the poor quality VHS tapes, noise etc
Each channel in eurovision
is like a time machine --- my time when I shot the images in Europe in 2000, the time of broadcast of the Eurovision 2000 song contest, the films are from 57 and 67 --- the tapes haggard after huge usage and wear --- the russian space technology images from the 50s/60s are from a television documentary aired in 2000.
Each channel, each time machine media element
has its own unique materiality inside the digital equaliser . Deleuze and Guattari consider art to be a time machine, a machine for making thought travel, so here we have a multiplicity of time machines, working in concord.
The work developed out of a parallel technical enquiry into what I could do with the after effects software and a content enquiry into narrative structure, breaking down the Bergman into the subplot of the knave and the woman in the Godard and recombining them (all of which is very possible in the digital editing environment), and using the russian space footage to build a piece which spoke to the European cultural and scientific exports of the fifties and sixties to the cultural periphery, Australia, as seen framed by the now ultimate television event, Eurovision --- the televisual reality that Europe now exports to the world.
The period from 1957 to 1967 is a curious one the crisis of faith (Vatican II in 1963), the impact of 50s post-war existentialism within Europe and abroad, the space race from the Russian perspective (as their technology and thinking was so radically different to the US), the impact of the United States and the Marxist analysis leading to events of May ı68, the growth in advertising, theories of representation, semiotics and post-structuralism, modernism and its perceived failure (?), and the beginning of notions of a European Union. These were some of the threads I was interested to explore in this work.
Also of course the impact of television the period from 1957 to 1967 encompasses this beginning -- and visual culture in general.
The Eurovision song contest began with the introduction of television, and was one of the defining televisual events giving Europe a sense of itself through media. Families would sit around the television, and as the jingle was played a notion of live Europe would form as various of the countries came online via the live satellite link.
I had a tape of the Eurovision song contest from 2000. These are now considered to extremely amusing international television events, to the great shame of many Europeans, who would be surprised to find that Australians have been known to organise parties around the night of the screening. It reminded me a lot of the kind of ways this version of euroculture found its way onto Australian television in the sixties, pre-SBS and wide ranging travel. I am thinking here of programs like Variety Italian Style
. A large proportion of the television I watched growing up was American, outside of stuff my parents watched. However, in Europe, the Euros didnıt really get much American television.
Eurovision articulates a small slice of European psychic space from the period 1957 to 1967. It was a psychic space that was exported as well as being hugely popular on the continent. European film culture tended to be delivered to Australian audiences in the sixties and seventies via the film festival circuit or the arthouse cinemas. To a largely English only speaking audience these films were subtitled. This is indeed how I received European culture as a teenager, learning Japanese at school, not French.