Stadium : Video Installation
School of Creative Arts
Social Sciences, Arts & Humanities Research Institute
Art and Design
Research into Practice
The significance of Stadium lies in its critical interrogation of the legacy, use and infiltration of historical socialist imagery in contemporary imaging. The work is filmed in the Olympiastadion in Berlin, the infamous site of Leni Riefenstahl's 1936 film Olympia. The work takes the buildings history and form as a starting point for an analysis of the modern idea of “mass” (Kracauer), the fascist conception of “crowds and power” (Canetti) and contemporary digital techniques of replication and multiplication in the virtual worlds of the web, computer games or the Hollywood film industry. Stadium has been exhibited in international museums and publicly funded galleries including; the The Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal –with a monograph catalogue; CONTACT, Toronto International Photography Festival, 53 Art Museum, Guangzhou, China. The originality of Stadium lies in its exploration of the effects of choreographies of mass spectacle on the imaginary and the political discourse. In ‘The Mass Ornament’, Kracauer speaks of mass performances as cultural manifestations of capitalism’s negation of the individual. The opening ceremony at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing was a recent example. The idea of the mass ornament is echoed throughout Stadium where rhythmic repetitive gesture, anonymity and abstraction are recurring strategies. If Kracauer saw these staged events as “the aesthetic reflex of the rationality to which the prevailing economic system aspires,” Stadium asks how are we to view representations in our own post- capitalist society where, more than negated, the individual is rendered virtually obsolete? Rigor is evident in the use of a combination of footage including 3D animation and techniques favoured by Riefenstahl, such as crane shots, long circular travelling shots and low-angles. The resulting footage exhibits the persistent legacy of representations of power and control in photography and cinema all the way up to contemporary imaging from video games to epic films. “Stadium” was funded by the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec and the Künstlerhaus Bethanien, International Studio Program, Berlin.