Fugue. 2004. Two channel colour video with sound. 4:00 loop.
Contrasting the promise of rescue with threats of captivity and injury,
“Security Fugue” examines personal responses to crisis in
the current arena of ubiquitous security. Images of a rescue helicopter
move across the screen in exaggerated slow motion, while on a second
screen, the camera tracks over aeriel views of a hospital and rescue
crew on the ground below. In the audio track, stuttering confessions
and dislocated murmurs echo in unison with the constant rhythm of chopping
helicopter blades which fills the space.
Sources for the piece are varied; a small excerpt of a 35mm Hollywood
trailer from the early 1970's, a 16mm educational film about psychological
responses to disasters, taped recordings of phone calls made by Patty
Hearst from captivity in 1974, interviews with Hearst from 2003 describing
her revisited experiences of captivity, and original sound compositions
by the artists.
The memory lapse of the amnesiac is taken as a starting point from which
to investigate the process of forgetting, remembering and rewriting
of recent memories. These editorial patterns of amnesia are juxtaposed
visually with images of physical constraint that parallel the collective
mental state of a society in a state of siege.
Musically, the imitative polyphonic compositional structure of the fugue
in which a theme is stated successively in several voices is used both
to determine the editing structure of the work and for its references
to pursuit and flight. In psychiatry, the fugue is described as a condition
of pathological amnesia during which one is apparently conscious of
one's actions, but has no recollection of them after returning to a
normal state. This condition, usually resulting from severe mental stress,
is of interest in describing a trauma that is experienced both individually
In installation, the piece is presented as two side-by-side large-scale
projections with a surround sound audio mix.