The Enigma of S.A.P.

Andrew J. Paterson

2008, 09:56 minutes, colour, English


The Enigma of S.A.P. is an almost ten-minute non-camera videotape set in a visual arts milieu. S.A.P. is a mysterious new art gallery, and two gentlemen (G & H) are checking it out. G & H, as well as their friends F & J, and also a very genial maitre’d, are heard but not seen. What are seen are the “paintings” on display (my own Photoshop graphics and/or drawings). These paintings mimic various strains or strategies of abstraction – mostly but not exclusively colour-field. G & H attempt to discern how many artists are in this perplexing exhibition, and they are very curious as to who exactly comprises S.A.P. What does this acronym actually stand for? As G & H appraise the art, attempt to purchase drinks, and exchange banter with their friends F & J, the maitre’d offers the two gentlemen some tasty but indeterminate hors d’oeuvres. As the hors d’oeuvres begin to take effect, the paintings become more and more distorted.

The main body of this videotape is edited so that the paintings/images change not only in relation to which character is speaking but also to the phrasing within their sentences and paragraphs. However, after three rounds of hors d’oeuvres, G & H stop talking and electronic music usurps their conversation. Now
The Enigma of S.A.P. shifts to a single-frame flicker-editing mode, as both the characters and the paintings become positively delirious. Alas, paradise cannot sustain forever.

Available for single-channel screening and installation as projection with sound.

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