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By Matthew Nash

Georgie Friedman's video installations require patience. They are not for those with a short attention span, and they only reward the viewer willing to sit and wait. Sometimes the rewards are small, tiny flickers of action or moments of surprise; sometimes they are great gushing explosions of catharsis. Geyser, Friedman's latest 2-channel video piece currently on view at Boston College, is full of small discoveries and big explosions.

Filmed in Iceland, Geyser is an 18-minute video pairing, showing a closely cropped view of a geyser as it collects water and begins to bubble, eventually spewing water 100 feet into the air with a great roar before starting the cycle all over again. Above, a second video shows the sky above the geyser, ominous clouds drifting slowly overhead, until a great rush of water obscures them briefly from view.

There are several oddities about Geyser that, as one ponders its slow pace and building sense of anticipation, become obvious and yet intriguing. The first is that the explosion of the geyser below does not correspond to the explosion above, so that the four explosions in the piece appear eight times as disjointed and separate experiences. The second is that the explosions below, in which the viewer can see the geyser filling with water and building to a climax, are satisfying and rewarding of the patience it takes to sit for five minutes waiting. However, the explosions above, when the water shoots into the sky, are oddly disappointing, seemingly random moments that are not the culmination of any anticipation.

In this piece, Friedman seems to be exploring the type of experience one expects from a geyser and how the construct of the "moment" is created by all the others before and after. Geysers, after all, are fascinating because of their predictable build to an explosive release, rewarding those who visit them with specific moments of meaning or experience. In Geyser, Friedman gives us this cycle of anticipation and pleasure, while also pointing to how that pleasure is created. She indicates that it is not the moment of explosion that is the reason for excitement, but all that leads up to it.

Boston College
Georgie Friedman

"Geyser" is on view April 23 - May 10, 2009 at Boston College, Higgins Hall Atrium.

All images are courtesy of the artist.

Update: The image of Georgie Friedman's installation has been changed since the publication date of this piece.

About Author

Matthew Nash is the founder of Big Red & Shiny. He is Associate Professor of Photography and New Media at the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University and was the 2011-12 Chair of the University Faculty Assembly. Nash is half of the artist collaborative Harvey Loves Harvey, who are currently represented by Gallery Kayafas in Boston and have exhibited in numerous venues since 1992.

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