Fellow Traveler

 Entering the darkened corners of a Chelsea gallery, pulling aside the standard issue black curtains and trying to configure yourself in an art-film viewing space is such a tense, near nerve wracking experience. The anticipation of discerning where you are in a room full of strangers and the non-standard images and sounds you will be confronted with is a feeling I realize I love, the invisible contract you enter and share with the room and the art- I love it! It is like movie going compressed, edgier and overall with a much more risky chance of enjoyment! With this being said, Eve Sussman's new piece currently being screened at the Cristin Tierney Gallery in Chelsea New York was a stunning force to encounter behind one of these curtains, a force unlike any other I have ever seen, dialectically opposed to the compressed, brazen, shock value so much film art lends itself to and I absolutely love it!

The piece is called White on White and is described as an "algorithmicnoir." The story beautifully presents itelf as a tense cinematic expanse with a seeming narrative structure but this is just the beginning of this deceivingly simple introduction. White on White consists of 3,000 film clips, 80 narrative audio clips and 150 music clips all ranging in length. A programmed randomizer matches these segments up to endlessly create the project each viewer views, a film that can infinitely be reconfigured telling a version of the same idea forever. I can't begin to describe the intensity that one can watch this film with; looking for patterns, patterns emerging, the random seeming so selective, the deliberate, constant layering of ideas that had to occur in production for sense to be made- the thickness of actual construction is art alone, a new frontier in editing!

The narrative and imagery revolve around the story of a man's journey through his life as some kind of ecologist/spy/vessel evoking themes of Russian surveillance, natural disaster, exploitation, covert life and existences hidden on the edges of all areas of living. The story is framed in perspective with the addition of Eve's (blurrily pictured with Jim White, margaritas and maracas below!) collective company, The Rufus Corporation, as they write on their blog about their travels, trials and inspiration for filming as they voyaged alone, thrown out into the heart of the Asian Steppe, journeying toward something in the same (supposed) random manner life, and the project, progress. The lush cinematography and the barren landscapes of the locations the work was shot in are so unique in both content and style alone- a true, strong artistic vision!

White on White challenges art to be better, viewers to be more aware/engaged and pushes the boundaries of the cinematic and new-media mediums more so than any art I have ever seen. The film plays at Cristin Tierney (in a risered theater area that is comfortable enough to watch the piece for hours while a small monitor simultaneously runs the source code- and don't miss the back room which reveals photos inspired by the film work by both Eve  and the wonderful eye of Simon Lee) through Saturday October 22nd and I am sure it will have a long, long life after that! If you have any interest in the future of art and film do not miss this stunningly brilliant work!



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