Rist

Pipilotti Rist is an artist best known for her work with experimental video and installation art. Many of her pieces employ the use of sound (often including singing), color, and reveal issues about gender and the human body as a whole. Her work is described as part of the feminist movement, however she would not personally define herself as one. She hopes that a young man would be able to get as much out of her art as a young woman, which I think is a noble pursuit.

Ever is Over All, 1997

This video is contrasted in that the right shows an idyllic, floaty scene of nature and flowers, whereas the left shows the image of a woman smashing in car windows. Though different strictly in content, what surprises me about these overlapping videos is the fact that the mood in each is the same: happy, while their stories are quite different. Rist puts the whole piece into slow motion and adds spooky sounding hums as a background which makes watching the video give me a strange, uncomfortable feeling, but I appreciate the juxtaposition of the videos and like the aesthetic of the piece.

Floor to Mildness, 2016

This piece (the first one in the video) starts out almost comforting, letting the people watching lie down as they watch the underwater scene. However, as the video keeps playing, you start to feel stifled and stuck under the current, much like a piece of plastic floating through the ocean. You get even more uncomfortable, scared even, when you hear the sound of someone screaming for help, and everything gets blurry. I like the idea of the reverse fishbowl here, but still find the progression moderately disturbing, which of course was most likely Rist’s idea.

Sip My Ocean, 1996

This piece captured my attention more than some of her more recent works. I like the simplicity of it, and how excruciatingly raw it is. It starts out soft and simple, with the mirrored images flowing in and out of one another, and her soft cover of a song playing in the background. It slowly starts to get more and more intense, and emotionally intensive, especially as you hear her begin to shout the lyrics out as if she’s in pain. I was reading the YouTube comments and almost every single one was about how scary but enchanting this piece is, and how they had all gone back to the museum it was in many times because they just couldn’t get over it. I think that’s a good way to describe the feelings you get from this. It’s haunting, but in a good, fascinating way.

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