d. n. rodowick
30 Jun – 26 Oct 2019
In his second exhibition with Campagne Première, Berlin, d.n. rodowick presents two installations.
(2017-2018) two looped HD video projections and nineteen digital prints
#MyNeighborMonVoisinMeinNachbar (2018) one looped HD video plus 14 digital prints.
The artists statement for Interval (2017-2018) reads as follows:
„In 1983, I completed a film entitled 1963 (a meditation on
history and violence), which
would prove to be my last circulating analog work. Made twenty years after the
assassination of President John F. Kennedy, 1963 was meant to be a contemplative
investigation of the relation between image and memory, and indeed image as a
medium that obscures memory as much as preserving or transmitting it. The paradox
here is that the more traumatic the historical event, the more images and documents
proliferate around it, clouding or fogging the experience to such an extent that one only
sees the obscuring haze. Moreover, that haze fills the space around and between us to
the extent that we no longer see one another and communicate historical experience
directly. Support for the polis is no longer intersubjectivity and attention to others, but
rather our blind attempts to navigate the information fog that surrounds and separates us.
The source material for 1963 was a copy of Abraham Zapruder’s 8mm footage of the
Kennedy assassination, itself filmed in color Super-8 off of the screen of a small black
and white video monitor as it was broadcast on national television. Already twice
mediated, this 26.6 seconds of images was then blown up to 16mm and step printed at
one frame a second, slowing and obscuring the image while bringing forward the
textures of its electronic and photochemical mediations. In 1963, the step-printed
sequence is repeated once—history repeats itself, at least in images.
Kennedy’s 100th birthday took place on 29 May 2017, and we are now more than fifty
years past the traumatic year of 1963. In the intervals of time that have now past
between and beyond 1963 and 1983, I have often thought about returning to these
materials, but in expanded form and using digital means. Interval is thus a new iteration
of my ongoing interest in the fading of memory and historical experience as a function of
image and medium. My intuition here is that the mediated images that comprise our
collective memory of historical events are subject in complex ways to temporal erosion,
where duration becomes distended and elliptical, gapped and perforated, and space is
clouded by a thickening or sedimentation of time perceived as indistinct layerings of the
past and the present in uneven rhythms.
One anchor for the installation is a large format print of FBI exhibit K51, Abraham
Zapruder’s Model 414 PD Bell & Howell Zoomatic Director Series 8mm Camera, now
held in the United States National Archives. The so-called “Zapruder film” comprises
26.6 seconds of images, or 486 frames, exposed at 18.3 frames/second on
Kodachrome II safety film, shot from Zapruder’s vantage point on a concrete pedestal
along Elm Street in Dealey Plaza. In the context of the installation, this rather prosaic
document will serve as a monogram of historical time buried within an archival
document. Investigating these facts about time and timing are the conceptual motors for
the general structure of Interval.
Eighteen prints aligned in a continuous series on the gallery walls comprise the second
element of the installation. Each individual print is an image sampled from 1963 by
dividing the running time of the work by a factor of 18. The prints should all be of equal
size and dimension and be set equidistant from each other; their deployment in series
recalls the unrolling of a strip of film, and their uneven textures and monochrome color
are reminiscent of Warhol’s “Disaster Series.” Ideally, the prints will be hung at a height
approximating Zapruder’s own eye-level.
Two video projections are set at either end of the print series. The time structure and
duration of these works are very different. One is built from what I call a “time pyramid,”
wherein a baseline image extracted from 1963 is copied, retimed at different durations,
and stacked vertically on the editing timeline in different opacities. The effect of layering
different intervals of the image one on top of the other suggests that a heterogeneous
and a-rhythmic time is itself obscuring the image. Layers loop and retrogress,
preventing actions from going forward while splitting, fraying, and dissolving space as if
to introduce new contingencies into the event, which nonetheless arrives at its
The second projection ideally will be set off from the rest of Interval in a quiet and
darkened space. If the print series suggests an imagined external view point and a
linear though gapped trajectory in time, and if the first video presents a compression of
historical time into densely packed heterogeneous series, the second video offers and
impossibly elongated event, slowed to the point of indiscernibility. The space of the
second projection is meant to give the impression of residing within our own heads, or
some solitary space disconnected from the outer world. This should be a floor-to-ceiling
projection. Its material comprises a digitized file of the super-8 source images for 1963,
retimed to a duration of 55 minutes—the exact time elapsed between the landing of Air
Force Two at Love Field in Dallas and the firing of the first shot in Dealey Plaza. For
viewers unwilling to spend significant time in this meditative space, the images will
appear almost completely still, or moving forward at a rate just below the capabilities of
A central theme of Interval concerns the technological conveyance of historical
experience through images in uneven rhythms and staggered durations where
information is both elliptical and gapped, and either too present or too withdrawn. In this
respect, it should be said that at no point is the image of Kennedy’s assassination
visible in the installation materials. It therefore functions as something like a structuring
absence, or the unbearable punctum or traumatic puncture in history that can never be
recovered or brought again to sight.“
And for #MyNeighborMonVoisinMeinNachbar (2018):
“#MyNeighborMonVoisinMeinNachbar is a long-term photographic documentation of a precise urban location, which Google Maps identifies as: 48°49'46.2"N 2°23'00.3"E. This space is located in a major European city next to a busy thoroughfare running parallel to the industrialized quay of a river. The location is often empty but sometimes occupied, not by passers-by, but by those without domicile or shelter. This is an observational study, not a sociological one. It is without story, without interpretation, without judgment. Images are silent, reticent. What can one know of or from an image, or even from the data gleaned from a long series of images? The process of the project is as follows. Images are made several times of day over a period of many months. Their initial site of publication is the Instagram page, “studiobauleute”. There is no commentary apart from file number, date and time of capture, a record of basic weather conditions (temperature, wind speed and direction, humidity, barometric pressure, and general description), image metadata (f-stop, focal length, shutter speed, and ISO), and the hashtag, “#MyNeighborMonVoisinMeinNachbar.”
The image is always framed from the same angle and
distance; the focal length of the lens is fixed, and the camera is set for automatic exposure. Stark
repetition over time is in continuous tension with randomly produced time-based contextual
• The space is occupied, or not.
• Random actions and events are captured both within the frame and at its edges.
• The camera is always handheld, which introduces haphazardly slight variations of framing.
• Weather and light conditions change diurnally and seasonally.
• The camera’s algorithms for automatically setting exposure and shutter speed continually vary color, contrast, and light registrations in the image.
The accumulation and observation of small differences across and along a long series of images unfolding in time is therefore important.
Instagram’s basic parameters also inflect process in specific ways.
• The aspect ratio of the published images is restricted to the Instagram standard.
• Images are displayed online as a vertical scroll in reverse chronological order—newly uploaded images are always at the top of the column, the present pressing the past offscreen.
• Images may also be displayed as a grid, though again, in reverse chronological order.
One might think of this study as a daybook without a stable subject. There may or not be a neighbor, whose comings and goings are often unpredictable. There is an operator, whose presence and absence is marked by the record of days and times, or their absence, in the series. There may be temporal gaps in series of images and data. What did the operator forget? Why are they absent? Why is the operator routinely present at some days and times and not others? (One might say the same of the neighbor(s).) Ellipses and gaps in the data also record the history of an absent subject, and sometimes their mistakes or failures of discipline.
One might also be inclined to ask: What are the operator’s intentions? But then again, only those who are looking for a story or an interpretation, or who want to pass judgment on the images or operator, will be asking these questions.
What then do these images want from viewers? Commitment. Attentive looking, attending with care. To not impose sense or meaning on the image(s), or to take away from them any more information than an image can offer in its silent presence.“
During the exhibition the gallery is open by appointment.