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FULL SCREEN: “De Lejos” (From Afar)

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[please set the video to full screen]

De Lejos (From Afar) implies distance: spatial, geographic, emotional, linguistic. A state of being both somewhere and nowhere; distance as the essential obverse of intimacy.

De Lejos works with the notion of the computer screen as canvas. From architecture Rondeau brings a particular interest in the spatial context through which an image is perceived, and has repeatedly explored ideas of space, frame, duration, and distance in her work with projection and video installation. She uses different tactics of disruption and delay to heighten one’s physical awareness of the screen, in an attempt to “pry open a two-dimensional image, allowing the viewer to inhabit and invent the in-between spaces implicit within.”

Here, the video is shot from a single, back-seat perspective—one the viewer could conceivably share. We join a trio of strangers on their journey down a road in Guatemala. This intimate frame creates both context and vantage point, ones that are less narrative than simply spatial and temporal. Rondeau chose the moving car as location and frame less to represent a trajectory with a start and end, than to associate time, space, and motion. The video is presented as a continuously flowing loop, which a spectator could get caught up in potentially at any point.

The score and sound were created in close collaboration with the artist’s brother Rafael Rondeau, a composer and musician. It mirrors the delays and ghosting in the image with sonic quivers, which heighten the sense of slippage and lost alignment. The piece’s oral language, its hypnotic voice, and its visual translation as subtitles, also offer two parallel points of entry into the scene: depending on one’s fluency in Spanish, or English, one language is rational, while the other remains evocative.

—Stephanie Cardon, 17 February 2013

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Maria Rondeau is a new contributor to Big, Red & Shiny.

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