Sunday, September 13, 2015
Video to be played while viewing Celsius 233
I created a single-channel video piece to be used as a "viewing environment" while reading the artists' book of the same name. The video can be viewed here, or can be viewed from a blu-ray DVD that is enclosed in the protective phase box that comes with every copy of Celsius 233. (This is the second viewing environment that I have created thus far for one of my artists' books. Last year (2014) during a residency at Ucross Artist's Residency in Wyoming, I created a two-channel video piece for another of my books On the Nature of Things. That book is still in progress, though the video part of the piece is finished.)
The video plays off of the famous 1823 quote by Heinrich Heine "Where books are burned, in the end people will be burned too." Heine's poems and writings were included in the huge piles of books that the Nazi's burned.
Like the video for On the Nature of Things, the projected image was meant to be shown very large on walls behind the spot-lit podium that holds the book(s). Because the book will be shown at the biennial Faculty Art Show at the University of Arizona Museum of Art, with limitations on space and lighting conditions, I am showing the video on a large flat screen monitor directly behind the podium which holds the book. Although it is not as powerful and immersive as showing the image projected very large on the wall behind the book, the installation still works well. This is how the installation at the UAMA, opening at the end of September 2015, looks:
I created the video from numerous edited clips that I obtained from the National Holocaust Museum, part of the Smithsonian Institution. Their video was originally from The National Archive, also in Washington, DC. After re-editing and re-assembling the many video clips, sometimes duplicating and flopping them, I brought the video into Adobe After Effects to colorize it in the same manner that the hardcopy paper book's images were done. The audio came from three sources: I used audio samples from the soundtrack of Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will; from a 1938 color Nazi newsreel of the Nuremberg rally; and a short sample from Aldo Ciccolini's version of Erik Satie's 1888 Gymnopédies No. 1, which has the performance instructions "Lent et douloureux" (slow and painfully).