Attempt 2: Still Moving, 2005
still from video
still from video
continuous loop dvd projection
Fading in from a black screen, Insects are humming, birds are chirping. Cradled between the steel rails of a rural train track, two women lay side by side in mirrored pose. Their heads and torsos are framed by the shot. With eyes closed, they prop their heads a top one side of the rail as they lay still across the track. Hand in hand they share the experience both physically and emotionally. In a gesture of personal composure each woman gently rests her free hand upon her own abdomen. The women are dressed in identical gray turtleneck shirts.Shot in real time, the viewer waits with the women and shares in their boredom/anticipation of the endless afternoon. Snap shot like, the image is still despite small body movements and twitches. Eyes flicker and squint against the sun, chests move marking breathing rhythms. The women's expressions are both calm and nervous. The sounds of the day drift the viewer through a seemingly endless sequence.
A soft mechanical drone interrupts the quiet passing of the afternoon. As it grows louder its rapid approach becomes more and more obvious to the viewer. The women lay in wait. Final looks of despair cross each of the women's faces as the engine rumbles just inches outside of the screen. The shot abruptly cuts to black, but loud mechanical sound continues to crescendo into the darkness. There is silence. The viewer's eyes and ears have a moment to rest. The scene fades back into view. Played as a continuous loop the narrative repeats itself.
The ambiguity behind the women's motivations creates a narrative comprised of complex and unanswerable questions. Why are the women playing this dangerous game? Is it a prank, a test of courage, or a silly dare? Are the women tied to the tracks or freely lying across waiting for the approach of a train? In the dramatic, anti-climatic ending, nothing really happens, but something must happen. Do the women finally jump out of the way or do they attempt a double suicide? Are they lovers or friends testing their fate, or simply bored, adding drama to a long summer day?
Ideal Installation requirements: The video is projected onto the ground and is framed by a low rectangular bench. Exaggerated in scale, the shape of the bench mimics the layout of the train tracks. The configuration of the bench acts like seating in an arena. It engages the viewers to crouch over the victims. There is a desire for disaster as they wait for the anticipated climax. The viewer is not able to observe the entire frame without sitting on the bench. In order to watch the viewer participates within the circle and takes on a vulture like position, hovering over the action.
all images © Diana Shpungin & Nicole Engelmann 2000-2007