In 2015 ‘Videoformes’ has given Peter Bogers, a Dutch artist based in Amsterdam, the assignment to create a work of art which would be presented at the festival in Clermont in March 2016. Bogers has been working as an independent visual artist since 1981. In the course of time his work has evolved from live performances, through recordings of live action to self-contained media-installations in which sound usually plays a crucial role. During the nineties and onwards he has developed and fine-tuned his skills to transform, remodel and shape recorded image and sound as if it was something physical as clay.
For ‘Videoformes’ he developed a project called ‘Road Movie’, for which he traversed the region of the Auvergne intensively. For several weeks, filming out of the side window of a car, he hunted down hundreds of ancient crucifixes and religious statues that can be found alongside the small country roads, often embedded in an impressive natural environment. These recordings have been the basic material with which Bogers has composed a three channel audio-visual installation that inescapably confronts us with two different mental conditions that are inextricably linked with the idea of travelling.
As a motorist, after a long drive stopping the car (near a random statue) and then switching off the motor, one can experience an overwhelming reversal in ones state of mind. The mindset changes from being focused on moving forward in a shell of mechanical noise, to cessation and natural silence. Bogers always stops his car right in front of a historical crucifix or statue and together with the often impressive natural background this helps into making this sudden contemplative mental transition. In contrast with the modern asphalted road next to which the religious objects are situated, they instantly confronts us with an historic existential approach to life in which religion was used to get a grip on- and give meaning to- life and mortality.
It is fascinating to experience that a centuries old icon in an everyday surrounding can still function as an affective catalyst that helps the mind to connect to its direct surroundings and at the same time reflect on this connection. The contrast between the restless, noisy and somewhat disorientating car-driving scenes and the scenes where the camera stationary registers its surroundings, has been put to its maximum, also because the transition takes place on the three installation-screens at the same moment.
The work triggers overwhelming reversals in ones state of mind at the magic moments when fast movement suddenly comes to a halt and at the same time car noise is instantly replaced by subtle ambient noise of the direct surroundings.
The sound in the installation is crucial. When the cars are driving, it loudly comes from the wall on which the images are projected. As soon as the motors are switched off, the soft background noise is room-filling. This abrupt shift from loud local sound to subdued surround noise, creates a physical, almost sensuous experience that invites the viewer to explore the rest of the exhibition room and discover local subtle sounds that are scattered around the room.