Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Lorna Simpson + Gropius

Corridor, 2003. Double-projection video installation, video transferred to DVD.
13 minutes, 45 seconds, sound.

via Lorna Simpson (movie here)

Corridor is a film that shows the daily routines of two women living in two different centuries and two different worlds. The actions of the women, which are projected in parallel, take place in two historically and architecturally important domestic interiors in New England: the Coffin House in Newbury, Massachusetts, occupied by the Coffin family in 1678, and the single-family residence in Lincoln, Massachusetts, that Walter Gropius built for himself and his family in 1938.

The two protagonists, both played by Wangeshi Mutu, are young women, dressed appropriately for their respective historical setting, doing their daily chores at home. In the Coffin House we hear songs that the black pianist “Blind Tom” Wiggins composed in the middle of the eighteenth century; in the Gropius House we hear twentieth-century jazz.

The film, whose action does not lead to a dramatic climax and simply occurs without any didactic impulse, follows a precise, even tempo. The parallel strands of the action and their musical themes establish a dialogue between the two women. The lost time, the light, the furnishings, and the young woman’s impenetrable face suggest a number of interpretations without asserting any of them.

In Corridor Lorna Simpson, who became internationally known in the early 1990s for her works combining photography and text, replaces text with music that establishes an interrelation with the visuality of the film.

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