Darker Than Light
Dec 17, 2010 – Jan 15, 2011
Noa Giniger, Danny Yahav-Brown
Curator: Tal Yahas
The exhibition “Darker Than Light” juxtaposes two works that use analog projection technology – a slide projector and an overhead projector –
and “resuscitate” these obsolete technologies giving them another evasive and limited pulse.
Both works function as countdowns to a premeditated extinction; their mechanisms of projection try to grasp temporarily some evasive light stains, darker than light, before shifting back to complete brightness or total darkness.
Noa Giniger’s work DON’T CONVERT THE SCIENTIFIC PROBLEM TO AN INSIGNIFICANT LOVE STORY. (2008), is composed of a single photographic slide projection. The image is a frozen frame from Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1972 film Solaris1 in which the dead body of the protagonist’s wife is lying on the floor, a moment after she had committed suicide and a minute before she will come back to life. The text in the title of the work is the English subtitle imprinted on the image. Isolated from its continuity, this piece of text (said in the film by Snaut the scientist to Kelvin the psychologist) calls for a clear and hierarchal dichotomy between science and emotion2, yet Giniger’s work fuses between all forms of oppositions: the (emotionally powerful) image with the (calculated, alienated) text, the machine and its ephemeral projection, the filmic with the plastic, the analog with the digital, the dynamic with the static.
Though Giniger isolates this frame from a time based context, she creates her own variation on the idea of duration. Instead of a sequence of following images she instigates transformation upon the slide itself: during the period of the exhibition the intense light of the slide projector’s lamp scorches the slide causing its gradual fading. Though this change may not be noticed in minutes’ time, the work is in a constant annihilation and the mechanism which originally gives life to the image will eventually bring to its extinction.
The work of Danny Yahav-Brown also brings movement to the machine in its center while marking its upcoming expiration. In his work Life Span: 1000 Hours (2010), a light bulb twirls on the surface of an overhead projector from the wind generated by a small ventilator beside it. The image is seen twice, once as a two-dimensional projection on a wall and the other as a sculptural object in the center of the space. The projection creates something of a transcendental hypnotizing effect while the other view, exposing the simple mechanism, adds a corporeal absurd notion to the work, replacing the enchantment with nonsense. The purposeless movement of the light bulb (that in itself is not the source of light, rather a shadow) and its interaction with the turning of the fan, echoes yet destabilizes the functional relation of the lamp and the fan in the projector’s interior. The title of the work specifies a limited life span yet without clarifying to which life span it is indicating (the work’s? one of the bulbs?), nor to the point in time in which the viewer is watching the work, hence it infuses an inherent sense of cessation that might at any point take place.
1 Tarkovsky’s film is a free adaptation of Stanisław Lem’s novel from 1961. The plot follows psychologist Kris Kelvin’s journey to a space station orbiting the oceanic
planet Solaris. The goal of his journey is to evaluate whether to continue the station’s mission due to a series of inexplicable communications. Upon his arrival he encounters a few mysterious visitors, to who soon joins the figure of his deceased wife Hari, who committed suicide a decade earlier. Though Hari now repeatedly kills herself, she is resurrected time and again. Her presence is later understood as a reaction to the invasive, violent research conducted on Solaris, a reaction which apparently provoked the appearance of figures representing repressed emotions of the station’s crew leading to extreme psychological effects.
2 The sentence echoes Lem’s objection to Tarkovsky’s interpretation of his novel. Lem accused Tarkovsky that instead of making a science fiction film which deals with the moral implication of technological progress he chose to center upon the story of Kelvin’s remorse and guilt as if he was creating an adaptation of Crime and Punishment and not of Solaris.