Elizabeth Price (b. 1966)
K (2015), a two-screen video installation brings together disparate elements - text, image, synthetic voice and a stark, percussive soundtrack - in a witty and emotional exploration of lamentation, commerce and labour.
A ghostly stop-frame animation of the sun–created from thousands of glass plate slides taken between 1870 and 1948 – plays continuously on one of the two screens. On the other, a hypnotic CGI animation follows the production - the weaving, folding and packaging - of nylon stockings. Images of dancers and singers migrate between the two screens, seemingly responding to both the light of the sun, and the motion of the machinery. Binding these visual elements together is a narrative composed by Price and attributed to the Krystals, a fictional group of ‘professional mourners’. The synthetic voice, created using text-to-voice technology, describes the group’s highly ritualised practice, and its cultural provenance.
This work extends Price’s interest in digital moving image as a medium for polyphoniccomposition. In K as in all of her recent moving image works, the narration is ostensibly provided by a group. She draws on formal devices of multiple voice in music, theatre and literature, to convey the principle of over lapping, rather than unified subjectivities.The narratives are stranded rather than linear, and in K particularly, story telling is used as an agile intermediary, binding the dissonant, apparently estranged elements of the visual composition into unlikely synchronicity.