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Let there be wind


Brian Doyle’s video “Current” of tickertape floating through noisy, unpopulated urban canyons–shot during the 2000 Yankees ticker-tape parade–is the second reason to visit Vox Populi Gallery this month, the other being the Screwball exhibit (see Jan. 12 post).

This video is about more than the lyricism of the floating debris wafted on air currents. Without a soul on the streets, the paper becomes a stand-in for people, buffeted by the wind, aimless, yet a spiritual presence even amongst the giant buildings.

doylecurrentsThe paper piles up on the street in trashy gusts and decoratively wraps around a tree until its limbs are obliterated. The streamers break up the impersonal geometry of glassy skyscraper facades and float like birds across the distant blue skies peered up to from street level.

And in the deep urban dark spaces, the paper shot against the sky and against the buildings becomes the smallness of a day and of human existence vis a vis the big city and vis a vis the big sky.

wallasuddengustofwindIt made me think of Jeff Wall’s enormous light-box-illuminated photo, “A Sudden Gust of Wind (after Hokusai),” that hung in the 1995 Whitney Biennial. But Wall’s piece includes the people, who are also buffeted by the wind.

The installation, two side-by-side television screens and a bench on a platform were meant to evoke the experience of being in a remote-TV satellite truck, peering out the two back windows.

This is video as landscape in which the sky represents remote nature, but nature’s air currents live amongst us and enliven the scene. By the way, the World Trade Towers appear in this video, which was taken before 9/11 but has an apocalyptic tone.