Video Essay


In this week's Playlist we present a selection of videos essays by contemporary artists.

Julian Rowe, The Ice at Europe's Heart, 2013-2014


The installation The Ice at Europe’s Heart examines the improbable links between three works of high Romanticism: Caspar David Friedrich’s lost painting High Mountains (destroyed 1945), Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, and FW Murnau’s vampire film Nosferatu.

The installation comprises three triptych assemblages, four display cases and a sequence of nine videos

Check out Julian's profile on Axisweb >

Katya Robin, SYMBOLIC ACTS, 2014


The Symbolic Acts project is a critique and commentary on book-alteration practices. I sought contributions from artists and then burnt them and used the ash to make paint. There is an original paint sample (a miniature grey monochrome painting) tipped into the book.

The actions and results of the destructive remaking are captured in a reflective photo-essay and memoir narrative.

The artist book stemming from my Symbolic Acts project was included in Engagement and Entrapment (curated by Diana Ali) in Tel Aviv.

Check out Katya's profile on Axisweb >

Alfredo Cramerotti, On Failure, 2006


Video, sound essay, 15 min, on the downsides, prestiges and spaces of failure, via the figure of Orson Welles, who is paradigmatic for his relationship with failure. Among our contemporaries, failure has no space, no room for development –in other words – it should not exist.

But failure is a precious space where we can stretch our boundaries and experiment with another dimension of living. At this point, most of you will feel the urge to ask why should we fail. It’s not that we should fail in order to live better. Rather I believe we should allow ourselves the space, the mental dimension, of failure.

Welles is considered not for what he manage to realize in relation to his non-materialized ideas, rather for the way he – through the notion of failure – involuntarily played a game according to his rules.

Check out Alfredo's profile on Axisweb >

Gregory Hayman, Foucault's Double, 2016


This film explores notions of family and legacy in Diego Velázquez’s painting Las Meninas. The painting is a curious mixture of shifting reference points where the subject and viewer swap places infinitely as they observe the painter watching them, watching the princess and her courtiers, while her parents form a ghostlike image caught in a mirror behind them, perhaps observing all. For me this picture points to the replacement of parents by their offspring and foretells our/their mortality. 

The work utilises the essay by Michel Foucault as the basis for a script. This piece of writing has been interwoven with the last interview Foucault gave before his death. My work with film plays with the idea of the lecture and the documentary as artworks. By fusing them together in what I call the docu-lecture I try to tease out meaning in a mixture of text and image more commonly associated with television documentary. (I explore this also in my artwork film – The Lecture as Palimpsest - )

Check out Gregory's profile on Axisweb >

More film and video works >