Chris Marker Notes from the Era of Imperfect Memory

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.

1 comment

  • “The first image he told me about was of three children on a road in Iceland, in 1965. He said that for him it was the image of happiness and also that he had tried several times to link it to other images, but it never worked. He wrote me: one day I’ll have to put it all alone at the beginning of a film with a long piece of black leader; if they don’t see happiness in the picture, at least they’ll see the black.”
    – Sans Soleil

Chris Marker Notes from the Era of Imperfect Memory

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