by Barbara METER
2004 / 8mm / color / sound / 1S / 12' 00
Moving wheels, threads, hands and shuttles are woven together in a pattern of un rest, interrupted by glimpses of a woman whose face we never see.
The sounds too are restless also suggesting the woman state of mind. Through the disquiet of trains, boats and motors we hear a different sound : waves of love songs which anticipate the romantic landscapes that end the film.
What causes this mood we can only guess. There are indications of the woman feeling trapped, and her dreams of escape ; allusions to « Gretchen » from Goethe's « Faust », hopelessly in love- or to Ariadne who guided Theseus with a thread out of the labyrinth- or she could be one of the goddesses of fate, weaving destiny...
The film works, perhaps on a subliminal level, as an homage to the medium film itself not only through the enlarged grain, but in the images and sounds of moving wheels, drive belts and other mechanisms associated with the age of the machine, when film was invented.
In Greek mythology, Ariadne, granddaughter of the sun, plays a significant role in labyrinths, mazes, and circumstances in which sacrifices and reparations need to be made. In Meter’s work, a woman’s hands lay on knitting wheels and vinyl records that turn just as restlessly as the artist’s film rewinders. Shot on Super-8mm film, reworked and blown up to 16mm with the optical printer, and enlarged to 35mm, the blurred, soft grain purposefully becomes an homage to the quality of cinema as both weaving craft and relentless labor of love. Looped sounds of horses, albatrosses, trains, ocean waves, and archival sounds of war planes roaming through the air alternate with Kathleen Ferrier’s and Gerald Moore’s recordings of Franz Schubert’s Gretchen am Spinnrade. Characteristic of the German lied or lit, which sets poems to music, this song cycle incorporates text from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s tragic play, Faust. Other added sounds are of Italian Cecilia Bartoli, with Hungarian György Fischer at the piano, singing in search of peace of heart in Selve Amiche by Antonio Caldara, and in Amarilli, mia bella by Giulio Caccini. One of Caccini’s achievements was to think of musical composition as recitative expression: music as speech.
- Mónica Savirón
|1,37 - Standard (single screen)