The End of Civilisation, by Douglas Gordon
The End of Civilisation by Douglas Gordon is a three-screen video installation with sound. It shows a piano burning at a remote landscape, a re-enactment of an ancient local tradition of igniting beacons as an admonition or communication.
Another video of ‘The End of Civilisation’
One screen is devoted to a close recording of the burning piano, from when it is first set alight to when it has been reduced to ashes. Another presents a panning shot of the tranquil surrounding landscape. Occasionally, licks of flame or wisps of smoke invade the periphery of the screen, the only indication that the seemingly serene landscape is in close proximity to a raging fire.
I find this project interesting as there are three cameras at the same location, but they are recording different things at the same time, the artist makes use of space and the visibility of the piano to make the audience wonder if the videos are showing the same location. The artist also makes use of layered sound to further differentiate between the three events, making the audience feel that they are at three different locations when they are actually not.
Déjà-vu, by Douglas Gordon
Déjà-vu uses footage from D.O.A. 1949-50, a Hollywood thriller directed by Rudolph Mateé. The film has been transferred to video and is projected simultaneously on three parallel screens at 25, 24 and 23 frames per second (left to right).
All three identical videos start simultaneously but diverge increasingly overtime, this play on time induces the experience of déjà-vu in the audience, also, as the three videos are placed side by side, the artist also uses space to have the audience able to see all three videos at once, but diverge as time passes, making them feel as if they are suddenly watching three different videos. As each video is playing its own sound, it also diverges overtime, making the viewer hear the same thing repeated two more time, furhter inducing the experience of déjà-vu.
Comparison between the two artworks
Both artworks uses measured, linear time.
The End of Civilisation further uses linear-edited time, when the camera cuts back and forth to close-ups of the burning piano. However, it is still in linear, or chronological time.
Déjà-vu can also be seen as to have used edited time as the framerate for the other two videos are sped up and slowed down by one frame, making them faster and slower than the normal video respectively.
An interesting use of edited time to make the two people look as if they are solving the cube with their feet and blindfolded, when in actual fact they are scrambling the cube and the video we are seeing is played backwards.
To fool us further, there is a third person walking in the background, when in actuality, he is walking backwards.
This is an example of measured time, but also conveys edited time as it is played in reverse.