The All Seeing Eye (The Hardcore Techno Version) At The BFI

By Kim Patrick | 16 September 2008
a photograph of a room with a TV set in one corner

Pierre Bismuth and Michel Gondry The All Seeing Eye (the easy teenage version), 2005 Video transferred on DVD

Exhibition Review - Kim Patrick tries to remember who she is and where she is - at the The All-Seeing Eye (The Hardcore Techno Version) - showing at The BFI London until November 23 2008.

In its ongoing commitment to represent contemporary practice which unites visual art and film-making the BFI Southbank Gallery is currently showing The All-Seeing Eye (The Hardcore Techno Version) a collaborative moving image installation by artist Pierre Bismuth and film director Michel Gondry.

The All-Seeing Eye is essentially a concentrate of Bismuth and Gondry’s critically acclaimed feature film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), the story of two people who undergo selective memory erasure to forget each other and their relationship.

The film itself is intermittently seen playing on a TV screen within the piece and forms a continuous soundtrack throughout. However, The All-Seeing Eye is essentially the feature film stripped back to its central theme of erasure and works as a kind of magnifier to the experimental techniques used in its making.

Both fundamentals are intensified by their re-positioning within the gallery space from the big screen, from cinema to the field of contemporary art.

a photograph of a room with a TV set in one corner

Pierre Bismuth and Michel Gondry The All Seeing Eye (the easy teenage version), 2005 Video transferred on DVD

Transformed from cinema-goer to gallery visitor you must locate yourself central to the action. You are positioned both beneath and behind a camera as it rotates 360°, rotating with it as if filming in the present the interior of an eclectically furnished apartment.

This doll’s house is an area of play in which Bismuth and Gondry manipulate an experience of ‘revolving displacement’. Piece by piece mismatched decorative objects, furnishings, fixtures and vistas gradually disappear.

The viewer is caught in a scene of choreographed erasure, living out the process of memory loss in its most condensed and heightened form until only the blank walls of the gallery and an enforced struggle to remember are left.

The whole process allows for an opportunity to zoom in on the relationship between the artist’s concept and film director’s execution as the theme of memory as depicted in Eternal Sunhsine is transferred from motif to a dominating visitor experience.

a photograph of a room with a TV set in one corner

Pierre Bismuth and Michel Gondry The All Seeing Eye (the easy teenage version), 2005 Video transferred on DVD

In its role as the only London art gallery to solely commission and represent moving image works by contemporary artists the BFI Southbank Gallery is in a position to exhibit inter-disciplinary collaborations in art and film, in this case also notably showcasing Bismuth as the only contemporary artist to receive an Academy Award.

The All-Seeing Eye is accompanied by Today is the Tomorrow of Yesterday, a series of films exploring the theme of erasure, curated by Pierre Bismuth and Elisabetta Fabrizi, BFI Head of Exhibitions.

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