Orpheus
1996
procedural cinema

video clip

Orpheus appears as the projected image of a speaking puppet head. The work is derived from the film Orphée (1950) by Jean Cocteau, and is intended for installation in a place removed from ordinary traffic - in a cave, an abandoned tower, or another obscure location. From time to time, he speaks a declarative statement, and these are seemingly never repeated. The statements came about as follows: First, I used the original (translated) sentences from Cocteau’s film - all of the phrases that were spoken over the radio, in sequence - as a grammatical matrix. So the matrix is a kind of cross-section of the original screenplay, paying attention to only one aspect of the film - the radio trick that Death arranges in order to lure Orpheus into the underworld, the "found texts" from the media that hypnotize Orpheus. Then, I added further words (of my own), as possible words in the matrix. The computer program randomly pulls words from this matrix each time through the loop of the overall piece. In this way, the original syntax is fixed, but the poetry is "realtime" and variable.


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