routine, 2002
still images from continuous loop video
dimensions variabole

In Routine two women turn an optical trick into a perplexing game of reciprocity. Repetitively, each woman takes a turn facing her back to the viewer. Caressing hands appear. The hands look as though they may belong to the other woman. Playing upon the viewer’s presumptions, the actual embrace is hidden from view. It is unclear whether the woman is embracing herself or being embraced. What the viewer believes to be witnessing may or may not be an illusion.

With the aide of speed manipulation, the work fluctuates between smooth and rigid. The fast motion is defiant and reveals the artifice. As the hands disappear from view the two women rotate in a semi-circle at a highly impossible speed. As they switch places it is revealed to the viewer that their arms are crossed. Their expressions are tense and concentrated and their movements regimented. The women appear more like adversaries than allies. The expressions on the faces are stern and in contrast to the sessions they are paired with. The slow motion functions intimately, concealing the action. The seductive nature of the teasing is emphasized by the deceptive of use of speed and silence. The contrived use of silence allows the visual to be magnified.

While the slow motion scenes are silent, the transitory moments are accentuated with sound. In the fast motion scenes the sound is revealed and the viewer/voyeur is suddenly jolted into another invented reality. The sound emphasizes the automatism and the mechanical nature of the movements.

The seamless loop allows the deception to go on indefinitely, my turn, your turn, my turn, your turn……… Routine is a choreographed, mildly masterbatory exercise. Awkward to watch, with no clear narrative, it is definitely an absurd contest of the subjects’ own invention.
all images © Diana Shpungin & Nicole Engelmann 2000-2007