The Eternals

A series of video loops of appropriated footage, with an audio narration that recontextualizes the images, telling stories that are quite different from the original scenes. The loops cycle continuously, and the narration is written to loop back on itself as well, so that the viewer may find it difficult at first to discern where the story begins and ends. These videos play with the idea of “eternity,” and the way film can fix a fleeting moment or image so that it attains a feeling of permanence. In the narration, the characters in the videos are stranded or hiding out in some ceaseless experience or space; some are resigned to their fate, others push against it. Various loops have been exhibited from 2009-2014 at the Reference Gallery, Incline Village, the Holland Project and Reno Art Works, Reno. The below loop, The Pearl, won the Jury Prize at the 2012 “Three Minute Video Festival” at the Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, as well as screening on KNPB.

Text of the voice-over:

Someone who could fully succumb to the momentum of pursuit, and the urgency of the chase. From one room to the next, she continues with a fierce forward gaze, though the person or thing she is pursuing is somewhere beyond her field of vision. She can’t see it, but she feels in her belly that she is almost upon it, it is in the next room, or maybe the next after the next, in this series of rooms that open one into the other in an endless corridor of egresses and ingresses.

The urgency she feels is persistent, not subject to diminishment, but she has been in pursuit for so long, deprived of the actual object of her pursuit for such a prolonged span of time, that she has to admit to herself she’s lost track of the precise nature of what she is pursuing. Person or thing? Shouldn’t it be clearer than that? Lately she’s been entertaining the possibility that, in fact, she’s not engaged in a pursuit. Perhaps her urgency stems from a drama of arrival. Perhaps she is on the verge of arriving at the place where she has been scheduled to appear. But if that is the case, she has forgotten the point of the arrival, and the occasion of the rendezvous. The one thing that is clear to her is that it would be futile to go back. She knows that she is incapable of attaining the speed of light, but she entertains the possibility that she might be able to reach the speed of thought. If she races fast enough, she could arrive at the originating thought that set her in motion, arriving at the memory of where she is going. In this case — and it would be an intolerable conclusion — what she is actually pursuing is the idea of arriving somewhere.

She is aware of the pearl of light that flickers in the corner of her right eye as she passes from a darker room to a lighter room and once again to darker. If she turns her eye to look at it, she loses it. Her eye is an oyster constantly secreting a pearl of light. In the inevitability of its arrival, it seems to take on the solidity of a real pearl, before being banished by the shadow of the darker room. She knows she must stop paying attention to these sorts of details. They will slow her down. If the pearl of light becomes a genuine pearl, it will take on substance and weight — everything that is fleet and immaterial will take on heaviness, concreteness, and she will have to carry the burden of it, even the air will become a burden she must carry on her shoulders from room to room, until she won’t be able to bear it, and will come to a full stop, and then there will be no hope of escape.

Although — perhaps there could be another kind of salvation, a retrospective one, if she could shed a pearl from moment to moment, leaving them behind her, a series of precious punctuation marks strung along the thread of her traverse. They would provide a trail for someone to follow her, to find her.


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