The oeuvre of David Claerbout (b. 1969, Kortrijk, Belgium) exists at the intersection of photography, film, video, 3D, digital technology and new media. Although trained as a painter, through investigating the nature of photography and film, Claerbout became increasingly interested in exploring the notion of time and duration. Fusing together the past, present and future into stunning moments of temporal elasticity, his works present profound and moving philosophical contemplations on our perception of time and reality, memory and experience, truth and fiction.
The motif of the work is a single moment in time taken from an event that looks like a local election celebration in the United States. Thousands of confetti are falling from the sky, as guests are starting to clap their hands. Set in a neo-classical building, the falling confetti pulls all gazes upwards. The particles, tumbling down gently like transparent flower petals seem to be an index of lightness.
By means of this material, Claerbout, searching for remnants of tactility within the digital realm unites irreconcilable aspects in the physical world: weightlessness and heaviness. At the core of the work is a detail in the scene: the panic reflex of a young boy. Like gravitational force, his silenced scream pulls the objects in the picture back down. Both aspects of lightness and weight co-exist in their enduring opposition, producing a new, third aspect that really only manifests itself over time (with the minutes). For Claerbout, digital materiality will not remain content as a virtual reality but will attempt to penetrate as many as possible aspects of life, altering optical and material habits. Lens-based images, therefore, are already part of the past, to be replaced by dark optics.