David Claerbout


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Travel, 1996-2013

12 min. hd color animation, stereo sound

The idea and first preparations for this work date back seventeen years (1996) when I came across a particular piece of relaxation music.
It was originally composed in the mid 80's by Eric Breton whose therapeutic music would take away stress, and ultimately induce sleep. I considered that making a piece that could make people fall asleep was not a bad thing at all. Being purpose driven sounds, the aural images are so predictable and ‘locked in’ that they reminded me of people with stubborn ideas who are unable to lose them.

One particular interest lies in the synthesizer's impassioned, yet cinematic character, suggestive of 'generic' images anyone could imagine, of places in a dark and tranquil forest. The decision not to film, but to use very advanced computer images reflect the search for a space that is beyond the specific, that wants to be generic: it could be many places, but none in particular. After a three years production period, a continuous camera movement makes a journey starting in a park, going into a dark European forest, then an Amazonian jungle and finally exiting the forest revealing a nondescript suburban plain. At this moment of musical finale, disenchantment and catharsis ‘share the podium’ going into ascension, making it impossible to conclude a final image. With 'Travel' I wanted to prove to myself that i could work with anything, even with the shallowest of meanings.


David Claerbout, 2013