21.09 > 12.10.2017
Karen Sztajnberg — Room Tone
Imemersive video-art installation - T.I.N.A. Prize 

In the film world, room tone refers to the recording of a specific silence that can later help with the sound editing of a given sequence, patching up rough spots in the dialog. When my friend and I first landed at this sporting fair and event, we too hit a rough spot, on many levels. Our attempt to make a documentary film about the people trying to make pole dancing an Olympic sport was on the skids, and our subjects recalcitrant as they realized none of them was the sole center of our intended film. Eventually, that project went by the wayside, but I never forgot how attending this event for three days straight made us feel. At first, we were aghast with the level of physical adulteration these people achieved, blurring gender traits, limiting suppleness of movement, and beyond that, with the pervasive use of smart phone photography and social media posting. To to see and be seen, was done militantly and adamantly. By the third day, a sense of strangeness had dissolved into normalcy. The physical prowess, one-track mindedness of the athletes and the posing frenzy just become second-nature, much too fast. That too generated enormous discomfort: the ease with which we entered a room and adapted all too quickly to its tone, one of extraordinary physicality.
This digital video environment is an attempt to reprocess this experience with a little more distance and creative digestion. When capturing and posting self-referenced images become the main event, what does that experience say about our culture’s veering visual primacy? How does being in confined quarters, and voluntarily playing audience to exceptional physiques reshape an average person’s scopophilia? What need is being satisfied as one diligently settles for either end of the spectatorship versus self-display dyad? These are some of the questions posed by the visual elements of this installation. The audio makes use of three cycles to alternately remit us to the synthetic aspect of the original event, the distancing silence, and the bland sounds of domestic, mundane part of life which comprises a heavy chunk of our existence, and provides respite for the demanding scope of such spectacular events.
I encourage you to take in the installation with whatever sound cycle you entered, then step outside, and return to catch it afresh with a new sound cycle to see what it does for you.

Karen Sztajnberg, 2017

credits © jordi wijnalda

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