The Theory of an Idea

Root Event

3. Werkleitz Biennale 1998 sub fiction
The Theory of an Idea
1997

John Isaac’s work in the gallery of Tornitz Church creates a corridor with the lowered nave ceiling, with windows along one side which offers more views of Gartenschläger’s installation. At the end of this corridor, which ends more or less as a dead end where the church spire begins, we find a large monitor which also shows a portrait in real time. This time it is a man who – bathed in nocturnal light – seems to be standing up to his nose in water, half covered and/or camouflaged by leafy branches. Occasionally he glances to the left or the right without moving his head, and we do not know if he is waiting for someone or something, and if so, whether he is afraid of what he is waiting for and so is trying to hide in the water (so he is perhaps the hunted) or whether he is lying in wait for it. Is he the perpetrator or the victim? The gentle gurgling and splashing of the water raises the level of tension just like in a horror film or thriller. What is going to happen? Will he be discovered or will he jump out of the water and attack someone? Nothing happens. The tension is stretched to infinity, the protagonist remains frozen in his uncomfortable situation which in time merges with that of the beholder. Disappointment and anxiety begin to take over.

John Isaacs (GB), The Theory of an Idea, Videoinstallation (courtesy: Olbrich Collection), 1 Monitor, S-VHS, Loops: ca. 20 min, Ton, 1997

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