Year of Production: 2006 – 2007
Duration: 8 minutes (excerpt 3:51)
Editing: Tony Allard
Camera: Tony Allard & Kristine Diekman
Sound Design: Tony Allard, Kristine Diekman
The simple fact of failing eyesight as a result of aging, throws two unnamed individuals into a necessary symbiotic relationship. Like a typical elderly couple with failing eyesight, the two individuals in this video inevitably come to rely on each others’ sense of sight to verify and navigate their shared but subjective realities. While attempting to arrive at an objective representation of what each is actually seeing, touching, and hearing, a fractured but ernest conversation takes place in which various mundane questions are repeatedly asked such as, “Where are my glasses?”, “Did you see it?”, “Are you sure you saw it? ”, “What did you see?”, “Can you read this for me?”. As the video tape roles on, the couples’ symbiotic relationship evolves, or devolves, as they attempt identify objects in their two shared but separate fields of vision.
To further complicate the scene, the cyclopean point of view of the video camera does not become attached to either of the individuals, but rather, continually goes in and out of focus, getting lost in the visual clutter that fills the frame. Gradually, it becomes apparent that the two are preoccupied with attempting to identify, and later on build, the “Platonic Solids”, diagrams of which randomly appear and disappear on screen. As the couple stumbles through this doomed naming/building process, they can aslo be heared making several attempts to read, with two pairs of eyes, and several pairs of eye glasses, a complicated piece of text from John Berger’s book, “Ways of Seeing”. As the video progresses, their shared world becomes more and more mixed up as they lead each other farther and farther away from an objective, verifiable reality. Nevertheless, their ernest and playful attempts to cajole their conversation back into a serious and logical point of view goes on.
As the video winds down the couple is no closer to answering each other’s questions nor to sharing a reality. The dominant motivating factor in a conversation, to reach narrative closure, is repeatedly dashed throughout the video. The video fades to black, leaving only the sound of someone whistling in the dark.