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Indepth Arts News:

"Eric Lanz - Jogging"
2005-01-27 until 2005-03-30
Saint-Gervais - Centre pour l'Image Contemporaine
Geneve, , CH

Eric Lanz has been making videos and installations since 1983. He has especially focused on the organization procedures for elaborating and presenting images and the kinds of behavior associated with them. His videos often make their way through a series of objects, proposing an encyclopedia of uses. They relate various navigations, describing the progress from one menu to the next, which leads to discoveries that are at times banal or absurd.

His first works fall into the electronic experiments in new fiction that appeared in the early 1980s. This new fiction worked according to a logic of association that is comparable to the kind found in music and poetry. In 1990 he began the series Les Matières (Materials), Les Outils (Tools), Les Gants (Gloves), and Les Gestes (Gestures), in which the screen becomes the locus of an inventory. The artist records, enumerates, classes, and compares bodies and materials with a feigned rigor while being guided by his own subjectivity. Current interactive procedures (select, shift, manipulate) are the subject of a second inventory. Here Lanz explores and presents several types of selection processes, for example, the touch screen, or the voice as a tool for giving commands. In his new piece called Jogging, which he created for his show at the Center for Contemporary Images, Lanz invites us to take over the direction of a story that develops on three screens in succession. A man with a bag in hand is seen walking hesitantly along a path in an initially urban, then residential environment.

Eventually he pushes deeper and deeper into an increasingly dense and oddly regular forest. The aim of his walk remains mysterious and of secondary importance. The viewer must regularly press a button in order to continue navigating through the story. Although playful and indispensable to getting the story to advance, the viewer’s gesture has only limited importance. It only influences the space-time of the film’s editing in fact since the images are predetermined by the artist.

The installation keeps us then in a deceptive relationship vis-à-vis the apparent promise of “playability” held out by Lanz’s setup here. The possibilities of controlling the scenario prove to be pathetic actually. But it is indeed the lure of interactiveness that the artist is pointing up and questioning in this work as in a number of earlier pieces where interactiveness was merely a sham.

By isolating and parodying certain codes and ways of behaving that are characteristic of the new information technologies, Lanz manages to spark a profound reflection and comment on the new media with a viewpoint that is shot through with irony and skepticism with respect to them.

Eric Lanz, Jogging, 2005

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