Cole is pleased to present A Journey Between Two Fixed Points, a new video work by Oliver Michaels. Michaels’ practice explores the structure and technology of film and photography, often through the prism of the tools of popular culture. In an era in which every supposed significant event of our lives is thoroughly documented, ‘A Journey Between Two Fixed Points’ focuses on moments that are mostly neglected or designated as backgrounds.
A camera set up on an automated tripod and placed in the window at a number of locations endlessly records from left to right, seamlessly entering and dipping out of public and private settings. The film plays witness to the fragments of a range of characters’ lives. The ‘cast’ are accustomed and thus seem oblivious to the camera, lending an honesty to the documentation. This sampling of conversations and activities begins to suggest a narrative building within the work, but as this sense grows it is ultimately refuted by the greater thrust of the pan and introduction of new scenes. We are plunged into moments of honest and personal encounters, only to be pulled out and placed straight into new situations.
Continuing the lineage of the abstraction of space in Western representation, the work sets up a filmic structure that creates a bricolage of everyday space and moments. The implicit structural narrative of the pan allows us to enjoy the scenes outside of the storytelling apparatus; they stand forward rather than get swallowed up by a greater narrative. Once its imposed structure is in place and the viewer is comfortable within its boundaries, the work sets out to dismantle them, breaking down as it veers from its own rules.
While engaged with the film the viewer is also left with a trace or imprint of the journey; an accumulation of disassociated moments connected by the trickery of the editing. The endlessness to this constant unveiling draws the viewer in, binding us into the space of filmic construction. But the unachievable movement creates filmicly that which in reality would be a spatial anomaly; the camera movement fixes the POV but the experience while watching is that of a linear journey. There are two pivotal moments in which the duality of this congruence between real and film space is addressed. The relentless steadiness of the movement is interrupted and contrasted by a shoddy hand held journey that breaks the artificial spatiality in two. As the camera backs away to start its long journey, it reveals the area where the rotation is said to have taken place, playfully drawing attention to the emptiness left by its deceit.
HDV | 50 Mins | 2007-11
Oliver Michaels, born 1972, London. Lives and works in Brooklyn, NYC, studied at Central Saint Martin’s, BA (hons) fine art. Previous exhibitions include: Rude Britania: British Comic Art’ – Tate Britain (2010), London, The Alienation of Objects: Toby Ziegler, Zabludowicz Collection, London (2010), Superficial, Cleopatra’s, New York, 2010