JEAN SCHMITT
Ambulo, Sound/Video
2010
Sound/Video Installation
Ambulo uses video elements and rerecorded speech to consider the capacities of thought, feeling, and action in the face of an economic system in decline. Video of a blossoming cumulus cloud, footage from the Deepwater Horizon wellhead gushing oil, and a child's red rubber boots as he walks from left to right fill the walls in a multi-channel looping installation. A woman's voice lists dates, times, and the estimated gallons of oil released into the Gulf of Mexico during the spill. Through the repetition and alteration of these elements in time, the cloud video abstracts into light and color while the rerecorded speech breaks down and is eventually replaced by melodic remnants, the natural resonant frequencies of the room. The repetition and breakdown of these elements recalls the actions and functions of memory and the saturation of information. The footage of the hemorrhaging wellhead, the duration and the volume of flow, the plumes of oil escaping, both attract and overwhelm. The indication of decline, filth, greed, excess and our complicity remain off limits at the surface, but submerged in our gut. The video loop of the child's walking boots act as a metronome providing a regular, measured pulse. The movement marks time and a state of becoming, highlighting the urgency of the present and the motion of our generations toward a future to be shaped.
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