Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Threshold to the Kingdom

In Alvin Hall's Secret Collection this afternoon, he interviewed John Conrad, collector of videos. They played one of them, Mark Wallenger's Threshold to the Kingdom. And despite only hearing rather than seeing and hearing, and that through a fog of oohs and ahs from Alvin Hall, it was moving and even momentarily visionary. (The moment was necessarily brief; I was driving.)

The video shows an Arrivals Hall, where you watch the doors flapping open and shut as people stop at Passport Control and come out to greet their families and friends. There is music, Allegri's Miserere, and the opening and closing of the doors is synchronised to it.

What he is trying to do is obvious: ritualise this banal routine and elevate it through the music that seems to control it. Strangely enough, it worked, even on someone driving through the Derbyshire Dales relying on the wonderfully visual medium of radio.

John Conrad said he paid £5,000 for this video. Seems to me there's a weakness in that business model. Rarity and video just don't go together.

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