"VideoSculpture XIV (Shudder)" comprises four flat screens installed on a wall with a thin, glass plate placed delicately on the ground before it. Though images play across the four screens, they are visible only on the glass, which replaces the filter as a polarizing agent. To the naked eye, the screens yield nothing but a blank stare. It is only when looking down into the dark glass that one can see images flitting by, seemingly adinfinitum, as if squinting into an external universe.
Composed entirely out of stock footage, the video is the result of an editing process using short clips from an online database. In his selection process Van der Auwera used keywords, such as 'loneliness', 'trauma', 'distress', or 'unhappy US marine'. Stock image sites, like the one Van der Auwera used, commercialize —in service of a vast advertising market— images that reproduce an intelligible experience of reality. They do so in an automatized way, submitted to powerful algorithms. What we obtain —and what Shudder reveals— is an aesthetics of 'loneliness', of 'trauma', and of the 'unhappy US marine'. It arrives packaged as a frostbitten, if perfectly tautological, alternative to reality.
"VideoSculpture XIV (Shudder)" is part of the collection of KANAL-Centre Pompidou.