Vespers Pool (1999 2000)by Carolee Schneeman
“Vespers Pool” continues Schneemann’s dissolution of imagistic and technological boundaries. Relying on dreams and signs, the work moves between conscious and unconscious worlds, melding realms that are commonly kept apart. This six-channel video installation fractures distinctions between human and animal, reason and the irrational, even between life and death. (Some of this text is from Eleanor Heartney.)
“Vespers Pool” is preceded by a corridor lined with illuminated niches that contain artifacts—a dead dove, a bloody nightgown, a deer tail, splintered wood from a tree struck by lightning—lit within the facade. These artifacts, presented as rare objects, while of no explicit value, point to a set of coincidences, to paranormal events centered on a death.
Schneemann advances her work in reconstituting psychic spaces as part of ordinary phenomena. The installation raises questions of interspecies communication, deepened by the wall of artifactual coincidences, as well as suggesting unexpected cultural taboos.
Entering the darkened gallery, viewers see seven video projections in a stream of images of a cat (Vesper) ardently kissing a woman; these images flow vertically into a projected pool of water. Schneemann spontaneously photographed the continuously kissing faces—human and animal—over an eight-year period. Questions of interspecies communication are deepened by the wall of artifactual coincidences, as well as suggesting unexpected cultural taboos.
“Vespers Pool” (1999 – 2000) includes six LCD projectors, two slide projectors, and motorized mirrors; a blue wall (8 × 15 × 14˝, with illuminated niches enclosing found objects. Four video projectors cast images down the walls, onto the ceiling and onto a circle of sand on the floor. Two other video projectors cantilever enlarged video loops side-by-side, detailing six-second sequences of the life and death of a companion cat. Edited on a Media 100 system, a multiple channel audial track layers ordinary sounds into a disquieting surround.
Carolee Schneemann is a multidisciplinary artist.