I remember the first time I saw a herd of horses out in a field. Something
startled them, and in mass, they spun in the air. muscles rippling and hooves
striking out. As I watched the roaring, sweating. snorting beasts, my childhood
fantasies of a gentle friend melted away to be replaced by fear and awe.
Eventually, I lost the fear, but I have always known that the horse is not
a docile pet; it has never been completely tamed.
In Water Training, an image of a horse's head is projected and enlarged
to fill a wall. The image is not the normal view of a noble animal, in the
video loop, a specific moment of panic is magnified. The horse is harnessed
in a pool of water, much deeper than its own height. Powerless to make any
progress toward safety, the horse must continuously swim to save itself
from drowning. In the moment caught by the camera, the trapped and isolated
horse alternates between rage and fear.
Synchronizsd swimmers train intensively, for hours every day, in order to
present a seemingly effortless performance. From its underwater perspective,
the second video of Water Training reveals the extreme effort needed to
execute above water movements with grace and precision. The young swimmers
are a combination of graceful spiraling arms and humorous egg-beater legs,
fluid motion and chaotic scrambling.
Linked by the gaze of the viewer, these two images engage in a paradoxical
dance of associations: paralysis and vitality, awkwardness and grace, terror
and joy. Like the subjects of a peep show, the horse and girls reveal themselves
to us, yet remain unaware - isolated by water and the frame of the camera.
We watch without participating, voyeurs, unable to look away.