Audio-Visual 7.15 minutes, 2018
Polar Inertia: the depletion of time, the negation of space was inspired by a conversation between recently deceased architect and philosopher, Paul Virilio, and academic Sylvere Lotringer which took place in 1983. Their talk, published by Lotringer’s Semiotext(e) under the title of Pure War explores the relationship between technology, speed, and violence. Virilio suggests “in a few years from now we will be so restricted that we will be on top of each other in time”. Although critisised by some as being overstated (Hayles, 1999), perhaps discourse on social media is one clear example of Virilio’s prediction; the way technology has removed social breaks previously provided by space and time has altered the way people communicate, or fail to, entirely. However, it has also enabled longheld power structures to be directly challenged, giving voice to groups which traditionally struggled to be heard.
This work consists of two separate films from an archive freely available on the internet; The Naked Witch (1961) directed by Larry Buchanan in which “a buried witch …rises from the grave to begin a campaign of seduction and murder against the descendants of her persecutors.” (IMDb); and found footage of soldiers being exposed to a nuclear test in the Nevada desert, 1951. The bomb, called Dog, was one of a series of 7 tests collectively known as Operation Buster-Jangle. Film clips are cut up, sped up, slowed down and spliced together, (almost all) metaphorically thrown up in the air to see where the fragments land. The result is a new narrative which may serve to reveal some assumptions contained in the originals, and which we collectively hold onto within our modern cultures.