Category Archives: mnemonic city

Imparando da Firenze

‘Imparando d Firenze’ is the 3rd project in my ‘surface gateway’ series, which connects different spaces and locations as well as different, precisely defined, moments in time. This is achieved by applying a surface snapshot, representing the previous location and moment in time, to a particular position within a – usually urban – context. The resulting surface gateway trail connects all instances of any given trail, with a number of trails usually converging at regular intervals within a general location and timeframe. In this case, 3 surface gateway trails converged in Florence, Italy, within the timeframe  of 12 to 27 of June 2014.

The outcome of this project was a video (09:36 min), which combines experimental stop frame animation with fragments of a loose narrative. For the first time in the ‘surface gateway’ series I made extensive use of sound, which helps to convey a sense of a narrative, while creating a coherent soundscape for the experimental elements of the video.

‘Imparando d Firenze’ was shown at Galeria Xenos as part of Magma Collective’s Mnemonic City series. Due to the time restriction, I presented this project as a conventional video projection – in the basement of the gallery – as opposed to the installation format that I generally use for the ‘surface gateway’ series.

© by Rupert Jaeger, all rights reserved

Surreal Business Cycle (prototype #1)

Surreal Business Cycle‘ was the first in my image & light installation series. I had been experimenting with the juxtaposition of video and printed images before, but for this project I combined them to create a sculptural piece that was literally made out of images, with a video at the core of the sculpture. Technically, ‘Surreal Business Cycle‘ is a 35 x 20 x 20 cm glass box that is almost entirely covered with semi-translucent images. A video screen is installed in the lower centre, in portrait format at a 45 degree angle, playing mostly split-screen stop-frame animation.

The concept of the piece is part of a bigger experimental narrative, which follows the trail of images and events that originated in the revisiting of a moment that originally took place in Barcelona, Spain, on the 22nd of September 2001 at 15:17:28 hrs. The ‘protagonist’, like a time traveler from the future, forensically examines the remnants and their visual surfaces of a time bygone, with a particular obsession for the currencies of ‘Old Europe’, found in a seemingly random manner on walls of cities across Europe and beyond.

The printed images form a collage of memories, snapshots of urban decay and fragments of a loose narrative, while the video illuminates the object from the inside, thereby creating a semi-translucent object that takes on different meaning depending on the angle of the observer.

© by Rupert Jaeger 2012

Surreal Business Cycle‘ was shown as part of the ‘Mnemonic City’ series. The exhibition took place in the Doomed Gallery, Dalston, London under the banner ‘Mnemonic City: Plato’s Cave’ with other work of 12 artists of Magma Collective.

The Nostalgia Machine

The Nostalgia Machine’ was the second installation, where I combined (back)-lit still images with video, after the ‘Surreal Business Cycle’ a few months earlier. This time it was in the form of a traditional light box, with an opaque, back-lit plexiglass on the front that had a number of images and text printed on, and a video screen fixed in the centre of the plexiglass.

The video in the centre of the light box is about 20 minutes long and plays on a loop. It consists mainly of stop-frame animations, following the trail of printed stickers in various locations, whereby each sticker depicts an image of the pervious location. The camera, in stop frame manner, continuously moves towards or away from each sticker, and then jumps to the previous or next location, thereby creating the illusion of ‘flying’ from on place to the other. The stickers were placed in particular places within (mostly) urban environments, in various cities and different points in time. All of the trails converge on ‘Ridley Road Market’ in Dalston, London, in spring 2013, which becomes the focal point of this journey into memories and urban space.

The images on the light box show the key moments of each time/space trail and are accompanied by the precise location and moment in time of capture. This key image also becomes the sticker for any subsequent potential trail, and in such cases is accompanied by the measurements of the stickers and its price of sale.

The text, underneath the video, describes the workings of the Nostalgia Machine in technical detail:

‘Beauty and Love were frozen: Seven years, three months, two days, twenty-three hours, fifty-nine minutes and thirty-one seconds. After that they were simply absent, non-existent. In this emotional vacuum devoid of strong affection and personal attachment and without any perceptual experience of pleasure, meaning or satisfaction, a structure slowly became apparent that would eventually display characteristics akin to notions of beauty and love: Time, reflected through the abstract arrangement of inter-related, interconnected and interwoven points, instances and moments.

The most critical of all points in this structure is what could be called the point of inversion. At this point, all previous moments, which were irrelevant at their time of occurrence, and the abstract arrangement as a whole, which was hitherto unaware of its own existence, take on a retrospective meaning that transcends ideas of nostalgia, as the true meaning does not lie in any properties the points may reflect, but in the pure appreciation of the moment(s) as an experience of time itself.

In appreciating this pure experience of time lies the true beauty and love of the process, while the structure, as an abstract arrangement, is the manifestation of this process. Images, however destructive and obstructive to the process in general, are instrumental in a number of ways, but have to be defended against the attacks of the ‘Nostalgia Machine’, which would logically attempt to intrude and infiltrate the process, thereby rendering it ineffective and incorporating the process in the Nostalgia Machine’s all encompassing representation of life as an audio and visual surface of perceived properties of beauty and love. The Nostalgia Machine’s inherent propensity to fictionalize life functions proportionally successful to its ability of presenting an ever perfecting narrative, seemingly in tune with the eternal rhythm of beauty and love. ‘The process’ must resist such tendencies and embrace the sensual pleasures of time without notions of past and future. This effort of identifying narrative-free moments in time can only succeed, if the following two preconditions are observed:

(1): the selection of images need to follow a ‘process’ of elimination.
Each identified moment is to be positioned against a set of images, which must gradually decrease in numbers for each successive moment until the point of inversion is reached, the precise occurrence of which is identified through one single image.

(2): While the use of seemingly nostalgia laden images creates a growing emotional attachment to each moment in time, the experience of this emotional attachment has to become less personal with each successive moment. At the point of inversion, one single image, intolerably nostalgia laden, yet devoid of personal memories, breaks the memory-nostalgia relation, which results in a climactic experience, at once full of euphoric revelation and profound disappointment.’

[…]

© by Rupert Jaeger 2013

‘The Nostalgia Machine’ was shown as part of the ‘Mnemonic City’ series. It was shown at the Doomed Gallery in Dalston, London, just off Ridley Road Market under the banner ‘Mnemonic City: Moving Streets’ with other work of 10 artists of Magma Collective.

The dimensions of the light box are 90 x 65 x 14 cm.

Magma Collective Camping

On the 21st of September 2013, Magma Collective will present Inter-Scape, the latest of the group’s Mnemonic City projects, in the form of an exhibition and event day at Building Bloqs in North London. The event will start at 12pm by the canal outside Tottenham Hale Tube station (Victoria Line) and will run north along the canal through Tottenham Marshes up to Building Bloqs, with performances, installations and other interventions on the way. At the Building Bloqs Gallery will be an art exhibition and in the Bloqs Cafe there will be video projections, music and food.

Inter-Scape is the 4th of Magma Collective’s Mnemonic City series, all projects that explore ideas surrounding cities and the urban environment, this time focusing on the strange mix of nature, industrial ruins, countryside and urban wasteland that exists in Tottenham Marshes, the setting for Inter-Scape. To get fully immersed in the subject, Magma Collective organised a camping night on the 9/10th of August 2013 in the marshes…

Below are a few snapshots of the night.

…about 8pm, 9th of August 2013, Tottenham Marshes, North London…the Magma Collective camping attempt (part 1) starts….

…after some looking around the area, and debating, we have selected a spot….right in the middle of the field….

…this is where we’ll spend the night…the tent we brought turns out is missing some main components, so it’ll be an open air experience….

Pascal Ancel Bartholdi is the first one to get the camera out…true Magma style….

…next one up is Yuri Pirondi with his GoPro…

Ines von Bonhorst is showing her photos to Jaime Valtierra… while Michael Baur is smiling to himself….

Yuri, this time with a slightly larger recording device….

Yuri and Ines in the distance, seen across the burnt patch of the marshes….

….and yet another shot of the gas tower structure and the electricity pylons….all very post-industrial…

…the whole magma group, the gas tower and the chimney of the incinerator in operation…at around 9:30pm…

…and finally a shot taken at around midnight…at this point we were talking about the euro crisis and other things, basically putting the world to rights…
© by Rupert Jaeger, all rights reserved