Can we believe our eyes? The short films of Johann Lurf often explore the enigmatic territory between the real and the perceived, challenging our senses to comprehend visions and sounds taken from the environment around us by means of subtle, beautiful trompe l´oeil effects. Cavalcade, equally dazzling in 2D or 3D, sees him make a direct intervention into physical space for the first time.
The artist designed and constructed a 150cm-diameter water-wheel, with one face divided into various patterned circles of varying shapes and colour. It was then fixed in place in a stream; we observe the wheel in rest, motion and rest again from a single vantage-point, as it is illuminated by strobe-lights synchronised with 35mm cameras. Clockwise and anti-clockwise movement disorientingly, magically interweave.
"Each time the film flow is interrupted to record an image, the strobe light seemingly freezes the motion of the waterwheel—unleashing its motion patterns and creating an illusion of reversed motion and standstill—contradicting its actual speed. Our perception is tricked twice simultaneously: the illusion of the moving image is created in-camera while the illusion of standstill is enforced by the strobing on the water-wheel´s patterns." (Lurf)
Over three minutes the revolutions accelerate in audibly mechanical crescendo, blades spurting water into air; eventually, the atmospheric tree-heavy waterside calm of the night reasserts itself. A hypnotic nocturne which gracefully intersects experimental cinema with the sensational world of the funfair — Lurf´s title is evocatively redolent of showbiz spectaculars — Cavalcade provides a fleeting but indelible light in the darkness. This vision persists. (Neil Young)
Mention Spéciale Nouvelles Vagues / La-Roche-sur-Yon (Award)
Jury Statement La-Roche-sur-Yon Festival 2019