The Unbearable Lightness
Interactive video installation

programming: Bart Vandeput

production: Adem vzw


Short resume: This work is about an expectation of common computer/television user who is used to control and accelerate things in order to get to desired object/movie as quick as possible.

a. MAC Processor: -- Intel Core2-duo 2.5Ghz or 2.93Ghz; b. RAM -- 4Gb.; c. Hard-Drive -- not less than 100Gb. ;
d. Video-Card -- ATI or NVidia; e. OS; Sound Card/Interface; h. 3 firewire entrance
02. 1 video projector not less then 5000 lum (pref. WIDE ANGLE)
03. Sport Midi 1x1
04. cable MIDI
05. Interface 8 digital entrances
06. VGA cable 30 m
07. cable USB
08. light spot x 2

Alexandra Dementieva uses contemporary electronic technologies to create provocative videotapes and video sound installations that reveal the layers of human consciousness, the questioning mind’s most basic and important function – an act of observation. Her latest installation, titled The Unbearable Lightness, was inspired by the artist's study of medieval and Renaissance stained glass windows in cathedrals around the world. She challenges the viewer, conditioned by the speed of contemporary media, to be open to a different optical and aesthetic experience.

The Unbearable Lightness is a 20 minute, interactive color video installation. The projection displays what appears, at first glance, to be the life-sized photograph of an elaborate stained glass window from the 19th Century St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne, Australia. The choice of place is significant: the artist aims to stop, or at least slow down the time and accordingly change the space that the viewers are in, transport them from a regular room environment to a sacred place, like a church or shrine, - a place where one has to be silent. Seemingly motionless, the image, nevertheless, starts morphing slowly, too slowly compared to the pace of activities outside of the room, making viewers realize that everything in the familiar world around us is basically too fast. An element of surprise is incorporated in this work with the use of movement. Standing in front of a work, the viewer notices that the subjects of the tableaux, the saints and angels, actually move after a short while with some unexpected action. The underlying theme of the installation is based upon human history of beliefs in supernatural beings, thus adding a layer of poignancy to the video. The juxtaposition of extra terrestrial visitors with saints in a religious setting creates clever and humorous vignettes that peak the viewer's memory, addressing the role of magic in the context of popular culture.

Another perspective of this work is that while sunlight illuminates a stained glass window from behind, the projected image is also illuminated from the external frontal light that allows one to see the video in a dark room. But the viewer is forced to feel the unbearable lightness of light coming out of this silent image. Thus, the staged tableaux vivant The Unbearable Lightness acts like a church window - a window that shows us another world – a world of art that is able to elevate the spectator/viewer/passer-by’s experience to a different level of awareness.