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When you are staring, you forget about the time, it seems as if you momentarily withdraw from it. Your glance becomes fixated, in freeze frame, and, at the same time, turns inward. You think your thoughts, and when you wake up again and your glance starts to focus, you cannot remember how long it has lasted. Although the images in Caitlin Hulscher’s videotapes, Ma tête and Passengers, remain sharp as a knife, something similar happens here. In Ma tête, the camera is focused on a woman’s head, somewhere under water. Her white face and black hair contrast against a background of
phosphorescent blues and greens. The woman’s eyes are closed, the head moves erratically from left to right. However, this subdued and quiescent scene is gradually and subtly be…ng disturbed. For example, what we are hearing are not underwater sounds, but those of crickets in the night and a single bird beating time. At the same time, a voice-over is speaking three sentences in French; a monologue intérieur: … so I moved on / the night continues / it is totally torn apart, my head. The unrest swells as the head begins to move more violently and seems to be transcending itself. What we see here is both sleep and dream, rest and unrest. This three-line form – as in a poem – is also present in Passengers, but then in images. In three shots, a bird, a small boat, a buoy, and a ship pass by in turn within an almost painterly tableau. The décor is a sunny sea view: the horizon in the middle, anchoring your glance. The sound
enhances this décor. We hear the creaking of the boat and the soft tinkling of a wind mobile. Although in Passengers there is not the surge of unrest seen in Ma tête, the subtle disturbances also make themselves felt here. Because, upon closer consideration, the sky turns out to be the sea, and the sea the sky: the image is upside-down and the boat is
sailing backwards, into its own wake. When the bird from the first shot flies across the buoy and the ship, the contours slowly fade into the background.
Hulscher’s work shows us quiescent images, withdrawn from time into another state of consciousness. A state in which a moment lasts an eternity, and an eternity for only a moment; in which all is clear and at the same time obscure, both far away and nearby. (MvK) Read more...