Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Landscape <--> Body <--> Dwelling

Ubuweb has recently added to its archive four Charles Simonds films:
Here's how the Charles Simonds website describes his Dwellings series:
'Since 1970 Simonds has created Dwelling places for an imaginary civilization of “Little People” who are migrating through the streets of neighborhoods in cities throughout the world; New York, Paris, Shanghai, Berlin, London, Dublin, among others. Each Dwelling is a different time and place in the history of the lives of Little People ... A listing of the cities Simonds has worked in is located here.' 
In the film Dwellings, Simonds describes the fragility of his miniature clay landscapes, built in crevices and corners on the Lower East Side. The way members of the public came upon them and wonder about how they got there reminds me of the reaction I sometimes have to the latest appearance in London of Banksy or Space Invaders. But watching these films I inevitably find myself distracted from the artworks by glimpses of the real city, now long gone: the ruined buildings, the fleeting appearance of cars and people, the faded light.

Postscript: these have since been put on YouTube and so I have embedded two of them here.

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