Peter Rose: Witness

Pneumenon

Pneumenon (2003, two-channel video installation) Was commissioned and exhibited by the Fabric Workshop and Museum. It is a two-channel video installation that offers dramatic visible metaphors for ideas about appearance and reality, sign and referent, cause and effect. The heart of the piece is a video shot on the Rio Grande in southern Texas. A blue tarpaulin hangs from a line of rope and sways in an intermittent breeze. The shadows from the leaves on a tree in the distance are projected onto this surface by the sun, and they grow and decline in size as the tarp sways back and forth towards the camera.When the wind occasionally lifts the tarp, the entire landscape behind is revealed- a tree, some RV vehicles, a road. And then the curtain falls again, fluttering.This image is projected from behind onto a large silk screen that hangs in front of the viewing audience. A small fan is positioned in front of this screen and has been slaved to the chapter numbers in the DVD so that it goes on and off on a pre-programmed basis. When it does so, the projection screen itself (onto which the image of the tarp is being thrown) rises in a complex furl and reveals a hitherto unseen image projected on the back wall of the space. This is a piece about phenomenon and noumenon, about air, wind, breath, and light, and it operates at an odd juncture between video art and a theatre of objects.

Reviews:

"The only piece among the six that carries the mind beyond the technological imperative is Peter Rose's Pneumenon.  In technical terms, this double-screen projection appears to be the least complicated of the six. Rose photographed a flapping blue tarpaulin that rises in a breeze to partially reveal a campground scene. Then a fan clicks on, and the supple fabric screen itself rises to reveal, behind it, a gothic image of a small tree illuminated by shards of light, a Rose trademark.  This mask-behind-the-masK tactic  may be, like the kaleidoscopic and "impressionist" videos,  another old chestnut, but it reveals the dichotomy between reality  and illusion dramatically, in a way that stands up under cyclic repetition.  Rose has always used video technique to create content - never, like  his  colleagues in this show, as a substitute for it. That's why his piece alone lingers in the mind as something more than a demonstration of style over substance."
Ed Sozanski, Philadelphia Inquirer

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