Tuesday, 20 July 2010


Thomas Köner is a German media artist who works in both video and music, combining the two to create unique ambient experiences. His area of fascination seems to be the North Pole, and all of his installations focus intently on the natural beauty of this area. This project, Nuuk, comprises a series of desaturated images of the Greenlandic capital, ice sheets dominating the screen, and the framing often suggests that these stills could have been culled from CCTV footage. One image, taking in a snow-covered street lined with drab apartment blocks, slowly mutates into a nocturnal scene, coloured lights emerging from windows. The music gently sweeps the viewer through the experience, using a variegated wall of electronically produced tones.

If it had to be categorised, Nuuk would best align itself with the voyeuristic works of James Benning and Sharon Lockhart, its wordless presentation encouraging the viewer to let go of all previous understanding of cinema and enjoy the experience. One is led to feel as if the music is somehow being produced by the ice itself, as there is a deep, raw quality to the soundtrack that defies musical classification, and the texture of the video harmonises with this. Though successful, it is tempting to consider what effect the film would have if there was movement in each ‘still’, for example if a person were to be seen walking through the city scene. Not for the impatient, Nuuk is a twenty-minute film in name only, and deserves one’s full attention.

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