Venice Note #3: Multiple Screens & Emphasis on Sound

Elena Soboleva
Jul 9, 2013 2:29AM

Multiple channel installations are a common spectacle at Biennales and offer a range of experiences to immerse the viewer. This year, many artists including Turkey’s Ali Kazma, Israel’s Gilad Ratman and Stefanos Tsivopoulos of Greece created video works spanning multiple screens. What is striking about the standout pieces is the use of sound, which was not simply integral, but principle to the work and enabled the spectator to perceive the composition and move through the space.

Anri Sala proved his absolute virtuoso in Ravel Ravel Unravel, which was projected across four screens in three rooms of the (transplanted) French Pavilion. The piece centered around the task of three musicians interpreting Maurice Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand. Two pianists perform the same concerto across a duo of screens in a gestural temporal a-synchronization while in the other spaces, a DJ attempted to reunite the sound.

Jesper Just presented Intercourses, a spectral experience across five screens in the Danish Pavilion, all in varying scales and set amidst a provisional space that he configured for the project. The shots follow three male figures across a peripheral city in China whose bizarre architecture, a scale replica of Paris, becomes the protagonist of the film. The sound feels embedded within the walls and reverberates through one’s skin as the screens and eerie magenta glow of UV lamps lead you through the enigmatic and near-delusional space.

Irish Pavilion representative Richard Mosse created a six channel video installation, The Enclave, shot in 16mm infrared film, a culmination for the “Infra” series he has been shooting in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Hued in shades of vivid pink, the film offers a glimpse into the opaque and intangible conflict gripping the African nation. The horrors of violence turn starkly beautiful and resonate across screens while the sonorous, minimalist sounds, designed by Icelandic composer Ben Frost, envelop this nightmare.

Images: Anri Sala; Richard Mosse; Jesper Just

Elena Soboleva