Shudder (videosculpture XIV)

Emmanuel Van der Auwera, Shudder (Vidéo Sculpture XIV), 2018.© Emmanuel Van der Auwera and Harlan Levey Projects

Through his installations, Emmanuel Van der Auwera seeks to deconstruct not only the methods of representation and broadcast of images, with which our era is saturated, but also their underlying mechanics. For the Video Sculptures series, he uses the material and conceptual dimensions of the screen (“the shrine to contemporary image”), designed as a window onto the representation of a reality that is continually called into question.


Based on images that are taken entirely from stock footage, edited at a slow pace and with a background of white noise, Shudder (video sculpture XIV) shows a soldier having what appear to be traumatic memories. He is at first shown as immobile: face blank, eyes empty. A moment later, he breaks into a run, then falls. A car burns. The soldier is then shown in a wheelchair, a little girl jumping into his arms. Finally, we see a burial. A bright blue sky and a sense of bitterness.
The stock footage industry provides high quality images of any subject, available to all the public. They are easy to integrate into any type of production at very low cost (advertising, big Hollywood productions, etc.). By using them in this manner, Emmanuel Van der Auwera questions our consumption of mass media and reminds us that there exist fewer true reflections of reality than there do of representational artificial counterparts.