Giusy Pirrotta

Vanishing Point

3 channel video projection on pvc, black paper, wood structure, 4'45'', loop, no sound, 2011/12. 16mm B&W film 10'39'' projected on pvc and black paper, loop, 2012.
Moving image
Installation view at Royal Academy of Art, London, UK
Installation view at Placentia art gallery, Piacenza, Italy

The project comprises of a three channel video and a 16mm b&w film. This piece focuses on the Chinese Shan Shui landscape painting and the holy aspect of mountain in relation to eastern landscape representation codes. In western linear perspective we know the vanishing point is related to a specific point where all lines terminate, as the deepness point in our vision field.
In parallel perspective and in old Chinese landscape depiction, there is no linear perspective, but horizontal and parallel layers that overlap each others in a sort of endless field which creates deepness, thus parallel perspective. My trip across the mountains along the north west of Beijing made me understand how these representation codes were conceived in old Chinese landscape painting. The videos show long static shots of mountain landscapes which overlap each others through slow and delicate fades in and fades out made in postproduction in order to amplify the sense of endless deepness of field. The fades are extremely soft and the images imperceptibly change, thus the mountains depicted seems still but they are in movement. This creates a sort of ambiguity between what was actually the shooting and what is made in post-production through the juxtaposition of different shots.

The 16mm black and white film is made with a selection of photographs and titles shot with rostrum camera. The film is hand processed. The selection comprises excerpts from films and books which illustrate the connection of the mountain with the origin of the world. Especially in relation to the notion of the mountain as a holy place, closest to the heaven, were immortals reside.
This aspect is compared with the challenging of conquering mountains in western culture through testimony left by climbers survived after attempting to reach Mount Everest.
It is physically impossible to survive above 26,000 ft and the death zone on Everest is were corpses of dead climbers will forever be. The physical effect of high altitude on a human being leads to death, even in some cases, where external oxygen supply is provided. The film is though in order to construct a new story between myth, popular legend and true mountaineering experience through and editing of texts excerpts and mountain's images.
Film: Fata Morgana (Mirage) 1971 Werner Herzog, Ten Minutes older, the Cello, 2002 Michelangelo Bertolucci.
Books: The Everest:summit of achievement Stephen Venables, First ascent Stephen Venables, Book of modern mountaineering Malcolm Milne, Top climbs of the world Garth Hatting, Mount blanc and the Aiguilles, C.Douglas Milner