Culture Rover

#105 - In the Presence of Imaginary Tales

At the Are you Serious? show at the Wendy Cooper Gallery, Mary Scherer's Index of Absence offered a series of video clip contributions about missed people.

Each clip was one-minute long, and the speaker offered his or her thoughts on the absence of someone else -- a dead mother, a former boyfriend, a gay uncle who died of AIDS -- to the camera as if it were the person.

The most powerful clips were the most direct rather than the most artsy. These earnest confessionals featured steady, close-up shots of the speaker, who looked directly into the camera, vulnerable and strong as we can only be in moments of grief, mourning, and memory -- the places where now and then, life and death, here and gone -- meet.

These clips instantly seemed like scenes from larger, lost films. How easily a few hints, clues, references, and allusions place the viewer within a larger imagined narrative. It goes to show by not showing. It makes an index of absence a reference to presence.

25 August 2005

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