The Getty’s new exhibition “At the Window” has us talking about photography as a window to the world, but can a video camera provide a window, too? Or change the way we see one? Dutch artist Constant Dullaart thinks so. His 1994 video Niagara Falls, Special Economic Zone PRC provides a view of the Window of the World, a Chinese theme park full of miniature landmarks.
Filming during the inaugural year of the park, Dullaart’s unmoving camera frames the waters of a small-scale Niagara Falls as they begin rushing—a surreal and unnatural sight. There in Shenzen, visitors—most of whom could not have left their country to see the real Niagara—stroll by, observing the model and taking pictures. One woman poses as a man makes several attempts at a worthy portrait. The man-made falls become a prop for photographs, more a fetish for spectacle than spectacle itself.
Through his video, its amateur photographers, and their strange focus, Dullaart offers an unsettling window on a window on a window on the world.
Niagara Falls, Special Economic Zone PRC will be on view at the Xpo Gallery booth at the Moving Image art fair in London from October 17th through the 20th.