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In Your Dreams

In Your Dreams is a three-channel video installation composed of thirty-one small glass globes. The interior of each globe contains a mirror onto which film images are projected from miniature LCD monitors hidden in shelves underneath the globes. Three videos of approximately five minutes each consist of about 100 edits taken from popular films (e.g. La Strada, King Kong, Beauty and the Beast, The Golden Coach, The Boyfriend, The Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, Betty Boop and Popeye cartoons, and a number of Esther Williams films). Through manipulation of scale and the repetition of a conventionalized form of imagery, I was interested in revealing the complexity and seduction of the representation of women who succumb to romantic love, a grand narrative that has and continues to be perpetuated despite what might be thought to be a different consciousness.

Like exercises in Soviet montage, these compilations build unities of theme or form. One sequence offers images of female suffering; in others, women weep or brood. Several build geometric patterns (Busby Berkeley choreographies and flowers, phallic skyscrapers and electrical towers). Examined individually like this, the clips cannot escape the melancholy that now attaches itself to the obsolete but persistently familiar bits of cinematic language once used to convey desire, love and despair. Reduced to fleeting (and mute) bits of emotion and sensation, filmic moments once puffed up with dramatic extravagance (such as Ingrid Bergman’s agony in Joan of Arc) become quaint, miniature curiosities. Like the earliest of films, they have been rendered both minor and magical, made obscure by the loss of sound and context but marvelous by their innocent, almost archaic vocabularies of emotion and gesture.
We come to these miniature screens amidst a contemporary collapse of consensus concerning the proper scale of cinematic experience . As screen formats proliferate, we are equally accustomed to watching films in giant IMAX theatres and in small rectangles on the corners of our computer monitors. Hand-held computer-game players, pop-down airline video screens and tiny, kitchen-counter television sets have installed a contemporary field of vision in which a global industry’s polished products are regularly reduced to murky fluctuations of movement and colour, unfolding at the peripheries of our vision or attention.
Will Straw, Review, C Magazine, February-April, 1999

Made with the assistance of Steve Hallé and Doug Back

Media: three-channel video, 31 glass and wood globes; fluorescent lights; 31 LCD monitors, custom shelf
Dimensions: 148.59 x 370.8 x 37.5 cm (4’ 10 1/2” x 12’ 2” x 14 3/4″)

Collection: Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, Quebec

Photography: Richard-Max Tremblay

In Your Dreams (long version clip) from gisele amantea on Vimeo.