Last week, XXXX magazine presented a video art installation at the French Embassy in celebration of Soiree Au Louvre, an annual extravaganza organized by the Young Patrons Circle of the American Friends of the Louvre.
The installation, which filled the second floor ballroom, included twenty-five films, almost all of them produced exclusively for XXXX magazine. “We prefer to publish original production,” said Indira Cesarine, the magazine’s Creative Director. “It is far more interesting than picking up previously existing content.”
Upon independent production, each video had been set to its own music. But at the Soiree Au Louvre event, XXXX was not given control over the audio. Instead, a rather talented DJ Ari took care of the sound scape, although he later explained that he was assessing the room, not the video.
“We had to present the visuals in a dynamic way in order to compensate for the lack of accompanying sound,” said Ms. Cesarine. The solution was both successful and lyrical: Cesarine looped two separate projections, which like a musical round moved separately to the same music.
Indelible imagery filled the ballroom. Splashes of glittering light reflected spots of film off the back of guests’ hair, or the edge of white wigs, which covered coupled mannequin heads atop bistro tables, an elegant, playful interior design by Kyle DeWoody.
The video sequence itself was striking. Monochromatic Kaleidoscopic directed by Indira Cesarine, features a symmetrical mix of still and moving images in perfect tone, intertwined with lighting effects, negatives, and layered motion. Vertical lines and small speckled circles emerge at the inversion of these images, accenting Cesarine’s photographic eye for a good shape in negative space.
Four Walls opens with an empty chair in an empty room, highlighted by the soft glow of a vertical window. A young woman holding a hair brush fades slowly into the chair. Her eyes, as empty as the room, remain fixed, while her hairbrush descends into a slow rhythmic movement.
Suddenly, a close up of the woman’s eyes brings us to another scene where colors explode; the tempo increases; the girl divides like a protozoan. One, two, or three at a time, the girl moves wildly through hues, footage, perspectives, black stars. She begins to look dizzy. A bottle of eye drops appears depositing a single drop into the close-up her eye. It doesn’t help. She blinks, breaks a tear, and transports us back to her empty room, where once again she sits on her empty chair. This time, she does not brush her hair and she does not stare fixated in trance; instead, she looks directly at us, through two dark rings of smudged eyeliner and the stiffness of over-brushed hair.
If captured in its first or final scene, this video could make a remarkable photograph; the delicate use of space, shadow, and light show the remarkable sophistication of these directors. It is essentially an Academy poem without words.
Indira Cesarine makes a language of her videos; a narrative-free visual language that somehow, through only a fleeting image, evokes the strongest emotional response, a most hunted talent among those in the “branding” industry. But this is no surprise; by the time Cesarine completed high school, she had already soloed 4 exhibitions before going off to Columbia University where she triple majored in Art History, French Literature and Women’s Studies.
Cesarine is the brain behind XXXX, a 3-dimensional platform for original productions of conceptual film, contemporary art, fashion, photography and multimedia articles, which according to the magazine’s website, “Instead of reading an article, you can watch a documentary.”