Catalogue Essay: Video Road
by Peer Bode
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VIDEO ROAD is a piece of many layered experiences and ideas. We are confronted with a path of stones, digital stones, an ancient walk way, roadway, communications medium, practical grid mosaic, public works, linear panels of stone, a flat earth bound sculptural form within museum walls, interspersed and inter-marked with video monitors, electronic displays, colored light rectangles, glowing and internally moving. These monitors display representations and altered representations of transportation elements with automobile propelled bridge works, subway train journeys altered by electronic image processing, digitally storing space and time elements, releasing them along side "real time" or "continuous" time forms.
This piece is heavy, tons of stones, and old, with slow geological time and also weightless with contemporary instantaneousness, electronic cyberspace. That is the external. There is also an internal, in the viewer, the audience, that is a place of perception, of memory and imagination.
Kjell Bjørgeengen has found a way of going beyond metaphor and association, creating a crack or break of association, a break of linkages to create re-associations, re-linkages around a literal object and image. By doing so he has allowed for perceptions that grasp the complete series of seeing, imagination, memory and knowledge. VIDEO ROAD is a topology of inside and outside; the inside of perception, experience and thought, the outside of material stone and electronic event.
What is the nature of this electronic event? Contemporary magic or shamanism? The spectacle of Modern/Postmodern power? The power of science and analysis? Calculation, formula, model? Storage and retrieval? Artificial/cybernetic/automatism of intelligence, seeing and being? Artificial and false time? The uncertainty factor, the phenomena of the semi-accidental?
Kjell Bjørgeengen has chosen to present an electronic image process involving "real-time" digital animation presenting a filmic video camera-eye based representation with a tearing or disconnection of the live image; a selective freezing according to the energy content or brightness values of the image we see or using a second non-camera signal using "noise" as the freeze element. The selected image values are frozen and then released across continually renewed "real-time" images. The resultant image is a procedural and automatic inscription. The transformed image is a mixture of predictability and uncertainty, a history and present, the image and the world emerging from one historical moment to enter another. The image involves both abstract and concrete occurrences, visual languages and electronic languages, images experienced and lived. There is the important continually confronting relation of the frozen image to the living image. What is that relation? Where does it go? There is the movement and time and the perception of movement and time. There is the notion of a subject perceiving in time and the relation of the subject to different modes of perception where the image processing is used, as Kjell Bjørgeengen has said. "to emphasize the 'not given' character of our perception and perhaps also to the point of our own finality". There is thinking in electronic images, thinking video through video, to become the electronic signal, the visual, the imagination, the memory, the unconscious in thought.
VIDEO ROAD is two trajectories; a stone path and electronic path crossing through each other, inter-marking each other. We are comfortable with the stones. We know them. We trust them. What of the images we control as a signal, that is the electronic? Is it a window? Mirror? Control panel? Table of information? Node of a network? Or possibly no image but lines, just lines marking out time.
Even with our knowledge and experience we are not sure. But we know, we perceive that the time, the lines, the information, the image, the stones flow. They move, they travel, they wander in space and duration. VIDEO ROAD is a landscape within a landscape, a break and a site of knowledge and perceptions.
Kjell Bjørgeengen uses technologies to overcome the technological point of view of life that everything including oneself is to be exploited to the maximum efficiency. VIDEO ROAD is not of an efficiency but of a slow revealing and unfolding, as in a journey of a space of multiple perception and thought.
1990 Alfred, New York