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“EMPIRE”

 

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“EMPIRE”

Phil Solomon 2008-2012
USA | Format: HD | color | sound | 48 minutes

A re-make of Andy Warhol’s Empire from high atop the Manhattan Island of Grand Theft Auto IV (“Liberty City”), far from the madding crowd of thieves, cops, prostitutes and murderers down below. I hijacked a copter, leaped onto the rooftop of an adjacent building, spawned a scooter out of the thin air and then gingerly drove it to the very edge of the precipice in order to roughly approximate that familiar view from July 25-26, 1964.

And then I put the controller aside and did exactly nothing for 24 hours (48 minutes in our world). A day of rest and bordered inaction.

And lo and behold, the Overseers appear to have accounted for someone, somewhere doing exactly this, resisting the game’s narrative intention toward movement and action. Again and again, for 40 days and 40 nights, I was privy to a very different apperception of time and light, but one that was already embedded into the game’s code, if for no other existential purpose than to act as a gradually shifting rear screen projection for the street level mayhem. 

A thunderstorm threatens, then clears. High winds blow errant pieces of limned debris. Golden waters sparkle and dance as the west-turned sun sets in the rosy-fingered dusk. Night comes in. Mechanical fireflies and custodial lights dot the void. The moon (twice) comes out to play. The night canopy is gradually withdrawn, as the morning light of weekday commuting burnishes in from the east. As we approach full circle, the blue afternoon gradually reveals the Building in its final iconic silhouette state, as a single plane appears and flies across the horizon line, doomed to repeat its fated flight path in eternal recurrence.—P.S.

Venue: Film Center Amphitheater

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