Ad Gabriele Leidloff: Video of a Moving Visual Object

The flood of images we are used to is so overwhelming that often only stills, “situative processes of ‘frozen’ movements,” can help us to recover its elements. How does the brain deal with all this visual hyper-information? One way, of course, is not to look.

Gabriele Leidloff. Moving Visual Object, 1997. video stills

But if we view any part of this flood of images, we may stop following these external pictures with our eyes. Instead, we may begin to interpret images based on continuously generated internal models of our surrounding world that are repetitive and perseverant and lack real visual information. In this case, the rapidly changing pictures of low-to-zero information do not “guide” our eyes and brain, as we might believe. This is also the point where visual communication — the self and the picture (i.e., the selves of viewer and artist meeting through the picture) — comes to a standstill. Here, the metaphor of death may be evoked as the visual point of zero contact of the non-moving eye (brain) and the internal model of what the viewer’s mind is ready to see.

“Lady Di”

The circular pictures as well as the mystical repetition of bells in Gabriele Leidloff’s video work – a staged scenery of the round-the-clock, worldwide reporting done on Lady Di’s funeral, filmed from television, recopied and isolated – demonstrate nicely this turning point of visual imagery. It is a “standstill” that focuses on the viewer’s internal model and sets the “mystic drama” to zero. This then permits a new, more intrinsic communication with the underlying texture and content of the video pictures.

The conversion of Lady Di’s dead body into an empty and fuzzy “Moving Visual Object,” as shown in this piece of video work, is interpreted by the viewer as the Princess laying in the coffin. However, her body may not have actually been in there, and the truth cannot be determined while watching the video endlessly replay. This expresses the idea of ambiguous mystification, which here expands between the real belief of the Princess’ tragedy, and the virtual sight of a mystified object and former subject, which is presented in complete audio-visual emptiness.