Category Archives: GEE

The Cat’s Nap

His cat, Guillaume-en-Egypte, played an intregal part in some of his other work, as cats always do. It’s not difficult to see that cats and this cat in particular play as significant a role in Marker’s life as anything, and therefore this brief piece of video (accurately described in Film Comment’s filmography a few years back as “warm”) takes on greater resonance… as though here is Marker, briefly, laying aside all else to try and capture his own personal Madeline. Guillaume-en-Egypte’s langorous slip into contented unconsciousness perpetuates the unknowability of the filmed transaction. Marker’s history is the cat’s nap. And the video remains only a record of the beautiful sunny day Marker remembers, not the event itself.

– “Chat écoutant la musique (Chris Marker, 1988),” [link expired]

Guillaume-en-EgypTee + Silence

Guillaume T-Shirt Chris Marker

This Guillaume-en-Egypte t-shirt is available from the Wexner Center for the Arts Store, Chris Marker section. Simple, really, and nevertheless a Rosetta Stone of sorts. The-Silent Movie-Cat points quizzically back to the celluloid (the “black leader” of Sans Soleil?). The primordial gesture of Silent Movie, a video installation from 1995, is that of a woman’s index finger covering her lips in the gesture of silence. The brochure from the London installation places this image on the cover.

Guillaume, like Silent Movie, prefers the gesture to the commentary, or perhaps the gesture as commentary. This looping, multiple-monitor piece falls, as it were, in the eye of the storm of creation – a silent interlude, neither film nor not-film, between all the origami-unfolding emblems of word-image call and response and the extended “farewell to cinema” of Marker’s 21st century explorations. Or maybe a rose is just a rose, a Rosetta Stone just a stone, and a t-shirt just a t-shirt…

Silent Movie consisted of a video installation of five monitors, a series of enlarged black-and-white video stills, a series of suggestive intertitles, and computer-designed sketches of movie posters displayed on nearby walls. This catalogue features video stills and intertitles from the installation, an essay “Another Likeness” by media arts curator Bill Horrigan, and an essay “The Rest Is Silent” by artist Chris Marker.

Silent Movie publication @ Wexner

In the Gutenberg era, rather late – we’re talking 18th cerntury – novels employing the old «found manuscript» conceit were at times apt to end “The Rest is Lost…” Classic films seemed to always punctuate their finality by stating simply “The End.” What genre (most paradoxically, a looping one) might end with “The Rest is Silent”?

Silent Memory is dedicated to the memory of Guillaume-en-Egypte.” [Wexner booklet, 3] This interlude installation might then also be a work of mourning, a tribute to a silent partner departed, one who has lived on in a Second Life, with seven more in store.