Dead Forest Storm
The point of departure always tends to be the same: a performative act of a certain duration where an individual is situated in a majestic but menacing natural environment. The relationship between the human figure and the surrounding space establishes a conflict that is both real and existential at the same time. The environment is presented as being hostile, deceptively stable at times and momentarily even lethal, but the main character persists in his endeavor to overcome adversity. We never know why or to what ends this endeavor is undertaken, but we sense a force of necessity, which leads us to identify with him, to feel and resist along with him.
By way of notable efforts toward expressive synthesis, Nijensohn assembles a powerful audiovisual composition that presents the unremitting tension between mankind and nature. Along his semantic horizon line resonance can be found with the concept of the sublime, that complex and contradictory mix of admiration and terror that shakes up and paralyzes the soul. However, as is to be expected, here we are not dealing with a post-modern version of Lyotard or Jameson that translates the annihilating experience of urban contemporary life, but rather a formulation that lies closer to the romantic original fundamental to Kant’s aesthetic. Kant often draws upon examples of nature’s destructive potential to characterize the concept, and from it he derives the type of emotional intensity that manifests itself in the experience of the sublime. Dead Forest Storm regains this inheritance, arousing the same sensations of alarm and fascination.
Although it provides scant contextual information, this work draws upon the viewer’s knowledge and the symbolic capacity of its location site. The Amazon river basin is one of humanity’s indispensable natural resources, but it is also among the most unstable and threatened. The transformation of its ecosystem and indiscriminate deforestation have been acknowledged as causes of the climatic changes that affect Earth as a whole. As such, any intervention in this particular site functions as an event with extended reach: the local conflict propagates its echoes in the global imagery of a world aware of its own lack of equilibrium.
On the other hand, this piece extends projections on different metaphoric levels. The omnipresence of water, attacking and at the same time nourishing the central character in the action, forms a fluid, liquid universe in which we can perceive another representation of contemporary life. However, beyond the shadow of a doubt the metaphor that is highlighted with greatest intensity is that of resistance, a recurring image in Charly Nijensohn’s work which takes on eloquent political connotations. It only from this perspective that it is possible to comprehend Nijensohn’s work in all its magnitude. This is because his poetic sense is a sensitive manifestation of an existential aesthetic that is nourished by a crucial circulation around the world. Although the characters in his videos are always alone, society is there as a horizon and persistence is a principle of hope that expands outward by way of vibrations that the work incites in the heart of each and every viewer.
author: Rodrigo Alonso
05:14 Min, Brasilien/ Argentinien, 2009