WorldWide Video Festival, The Hague, 1987

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July 24, 1895 / Sleeping Room

This work is a video-installation "diptych", existing in two adjoining spaces, each about 12 feet, or 4 meters square, and should have adjoining entrances. One space ("July 24, 1895" ) can be described as follows: As viewers enter the space, visible are a sign painted behind glass on the far wall, and a bricked well-like structure in the center of the room. There is a strong aroma of mothballs, and the floor is covered with rubble and broken bricks. There are two audio tracks: one, a stereo loop which comes from speakers on the walls, is a mix of ambient nighttime sounds from India, with a repeated, echoing rhythmic sound made by a night watchman; the other, coming from the video monitor, to the left, on a table which has a single chair in front of it. This soundtrack is an edited sequence of natural and man-made sounds, with periods of silence. As the viewer approaches the well structure, he/she sees that there is face-up inside of it a large black and white video image, and, after a short time of confusion, can realize that it is a live image of themself as seen from above and behind, taken by a surveillance camera place near and above the entry. Turning to the left, nearly around, they can approach the table and. chair, and sit to view the five-minute video segment, containing numerous images and sounds from various parts of the world. Near the doorway is a plaque which reads "In this House on July 24, 1895 the Secret of Dreams was revealed to Dr. Sigmund Freud". This is a reproduction of a message which Freud jokingly suggested to a friend be placed on his house after his death.

The other part (Sleeping Room), can be described as follows: as a viewer enters the space, visible are several painted signs on the walls, an area to the left which has a large rock in the place of a pillow, and a blanket placed on a pile of leaves and sticks. The floor is covered with false grass ("astroturf"), and is strewn with real leaves and branches. Also on the floor, near the "bed", are a framed photo taken from the newspaper of a mother crying over her several sons killed by an earthquake, and a television, on which plays a slow-motion sequence from "Tarzan" in which he fights with a lion and is rescued by an elephant. The sound on the speakers (behind the signs) is that of the slow-motion video, a deep and rumbling sound of the hollywood jungle-set. The two spaces in connection with each other explore the complexity of the dream-world. Both present physical sensory impressions of touch and smell in addition to sight and sound. Viewers are presented with combinations of "real" and "simulated" events and images, paintings presented as "signs", sculpture presentedas "functional" object. The complexity of the work presents much for the subjective impressions of the viewer, and is open to a wide range of understandings, much like our dreams.
-kf 1987


exhibition history:
WorldWide Video Festival, The Hague, 1987
Minneapolis College of Art & Design Gallery, 1983 (July 24,1895); 1985 (Sleeping Room)

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