Monday, October 11, 2010

What's dark, cold, and sounds like someone scraping the bottom of a sandbox?

A sculpture at the Minneapolis, Midway Contemporary Art Gallery, that's what.

As I entered the Midway Contemporary Art Gallery, I literately stumbled upon something that had more meaning than I would have guessed. Upon opening the door, all that could be seen was dark and unbearable sounds of scraping, pounding that made a shiver down my spine. I wasn't sure if something was going to jump out at me or drag me into the depths of the darkness. As I walked around the corner, I saw that there were two projected videos in the corners of the room. The videos looked as though they were playing the same thing only one was ahead of the other, which gave a very unusual perspective, as well making it hard to focus on the image itself.

As I looked closer, the video was playing a desert scene with people and dogs walking through a sunrise that fades into a sunset. After the demonstration, I learned that this sculpture was called Before the Sun, created by Karthik Pandian. The video was taken on a indian reservation, and the frightening sounds were recorded sounds of an archeologist scraping at the earth. The 16 mm film, which continuously loops from the supports on the ceiling, through both the projectors was projected by cameras supported in boxes made of four sheets of glass (that had a mirror-like reflective outside) which was filled with sand to support the cameras. The boxes were supported by a stepped platform that was built around the boxes. The platform was made of sand and soil that was wet and packed together to form the solid. I was almost afraid to sit on the platform because I thought it would crumble underneath of me; the feel of the platform was cold and grainy which resembles the soil of the film.
I thought this sculpture was an excellent idea, especially focusing the idea around the natural materials it was created from and the focus of the historic features of land that the video was showing. I liked that the sculpture made me feel as I were in it; while watching the video, I felt the warmth of the sun and the cold dirt and the same time. Before the Sun was a great idea and I suggest that everyone takes a exploration while viewing it.

-Rachael Henn


  1. Nice drawn picture! very descriptive I want to see the piece again after reading this.