HORSES, 2015

HD video, multichannel sound

5 hours, 26 mins, Infinite loop

Edition of 3 + 2AP

Video documentation by Darren Methlie

Exhibition view:  CHASM, New York 10 – 25 January, 2015


Exhibition text by Dana Kopel:

A number of horses cluster in the center of a field, of a frame. They’re in a wintry landscape, hazy snow-covered mountains and hazy blue-grey sky in the distance, a line of mottled snow stretching across the foreground. The horses themselves (this is not about the horses, but—) are small like ponies, stocky yet graceful, with long full manes, parted to one side and blown backwards by the wind. Some face the camera; some face away; none seem particularly unsettled by the fact of their being filmed. They gather in an almost symmetrical formation, some mirroring others. This is not about the horses, but about bodies, images, stretching and being stretched by time. The horses exist outside human time, maybe. Or they shift our perception of time, and of self—the formal arrangement of still and moving horses that cease to be discrete, definite beings, which become the unfolding of movement in time. The horses come to us in a video, though this often appears more photographic than filmic. Projected large against one wall, it features, at first glance, few discernible movements or changes. The image is calm and sharp; gradually, the blurs of moving horses become evident. Bruniges has slowed the footage intensely, so each frame of the film occupies one second—time slows, warps, distorts the small moving parts of the image (a turned head or windswept tail). Within this slowed-down environment, every movement creates a strange, beautiful distortion: a horse’s face is suddenly blurred, indefinite, impressionistic. Minor movements become small, vivid smears, transforming the video’s crisp photographic composure. The video—horses’ minor gestures, slight shifts in a larger collective body—unfolds gradually before the camera, the viewer. In the work, Bruniges has not only slowed and stretched the footage (which he shot several years ago in Iceland), but also looped it forwards-to-backwards: movements are made and unmade, never quite repeating. Time folds back on itself, not linear but layered and elastic. The sonic element of the work—thick, immersive sound from four speakers positioned throughout the space—echoes the drone-like sounds and generative aural effects that recur throughout Bruniges’ practice. Sometimes smeared or frozen, at other moments subtle and rhythmic, the installation’s audio, derived from the original location sound, suggests a natural environment made strange, and strangely present. Together, the sound and video eschew their true temporalities (as documentation) to recapture the experience of being there, in front of the horses, in the vast wintry landscape—between movement and stillness, clarity and blur, within the shifts and folds of time.