clapclap | 2011
Video (2:21 looped), dual projectors
Like many of the artifacts from the ephemeral installation work, this video emerged from its role in stylus, the 2010 installation at The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, to be shown as a standalone piece. In 2011, it was exhibited at the Gallery Paule Anglim in San Francisco, California, and in 2012 at Colgate University in Hamilton, NY.
In the version shown in stylus, clapclap intersected with the vertical spine of the weekly papers and the building’s column to form a nexus. On the rear wall, the outstretched arm of a torso in a blue and white striped coat-shirt swung a distorted hand forward in an exaggerated sweep toward the wall’s interior edge. Divided by a hallway opening, the same footage played mirrored and slightly out of sync on the perpendicular side wall. The hand, which the arm wore like an ill-fitting glove or puppet mask, was a roughly made paper maché shell. Although the video is silent, the two arms joined visually in the gesture of a clap completing itself.
The looping videos of the swinging arms—whether meeting or missing their doubles; clapping, embracing, exhorting or welcoming; an interruption or a knitting together—met on the building’s single structural pillar. Fittingly, the word “stylus” shares it’s origin with the ancient Greek word for pillar. The image, function and symbol of a stylus in its ancient cuneiform origins and contemporary digital form evoke the possibilities of contact beginning in the space between two hands meeting. Just as the book needs a reader and the record a needle to sound, so the project was animated by reciprocal actions. From this entrance the cavity of the space was entered, and each visitor figured his or her own path to combine and harmonize the various accounts and possibilities that comprised stylus.
Photo credit: TOKY Branding + Design / Ann Hamilton