BERLIN.- 1954 and 1958Italy and Northern Californiablack & white and color. In one a woman wanders and observes; in the other, the woman wanders and is observed. In both situations the gaze is mobile, walking or driving, the world screened by the floating frame of vision or car windows. Across the two spaces the women meander through museums, cemeteries, cities, landscapes of forest and ocean, sites of repetition, history, memory, and death. Images of faith and its distance from this world appear throughout. On the surface, no two works could be more dissimilar than Roberto Rossellinis Voyage to Italy and Alfred Hitchcocks Vertigo. The latter is organized spatially by an investigative and punishing male gaze leading to madness and death as it winds through San Franciscos serpentine streets. The former is dominated by the emotive face of Ingrid Bergman as she negotiates the labyrinthine streets of Naples, observing and reacting to the persistence of life in an environment overwhelmed by the force of passing and past time. Yet as described above, the two works, made only four years apart though in very difference circumstances, are surprisingly linked by many common themes, motifs, and scenographies, as if in a powerful though so far unheard conversation.
The Wanderers is an original work comprised of five moving image projections and diverse sculptural objects. The material of each projection is appropriated in different ways from the two films, which thus undergo three sets of spatial and temporal transformations. The Wanderers Voyage to Italy and The Wanderers Vertigo are both single channel projections where each of the two originating films is conceptually reduced by eliminating all male characters apart from incidental figures. In both cases these absences are visibly marked by ellipses, jump cuts, and other discontinuities and eccentric rhythms. The two works are projected as loops. A third element is created by further reducing the two appropriated objects to produce as much spatial (though not temporal) continuity as possible. The resulting two works are projected side-by-side as non-synchronous moving image loops. Because the two projections are of unequal duration, nearly random juxtapositions of images are produced in the course of time, which reveal ever-changing moments of surprising similarity and contrast. The last projection element is The Wanderers Marriage. In this work the two films are still further reduced and edited together into a single channel projection.
D. N. Rodowick is Glen A. Lloyd Distinguished Service Professor in the Division of the Humanities at the University of Chicago, as well as the former Director of the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University. Known primarily for his work in philosophy and the visual arts, Rodowick is also an accomplished experimental filmmaker, video artist, and curator. Deeply influenced by filmmakers such as Ernie Gehr, Hollis Frampton, and Michael Snow, as well as minimalist composers like Steve Reich and Terry Riley, Rodowicks moving image works are primarily concerned with process and performance in ways that explore fluid relations between stillness and movement, and figuration and abstraction. Many of the works are produced by setting into movement series of formal parameters and then letting them play themselves out (almost) automatically in relation to randomizing elements. Although conceptual in nature, Rodowicks moving image work embraces affect through its hypnotic rhythms and a haunting, painterly beauty.
Rodowicks most recent books are Philosophys Artful Conversation (Harvard University Press, 2014) and Elegy for Theory (Harvard University Press, 2014), which complete the trilogy that began with The Virtual Life of Film (Harvard University Press, 2007). With Victor Burgin, he was recently awarded a Mellon Collaborative Fellowship at the Richard and Mary L. Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry, University of Chicago, to produce new video work. His most recent book, What Philosophy Wants from Images, will be published by the University of Chicago Press in 2017.