Empty Orchestra (excerpt)


Empty Orchestra is a text-based single-channel video and hand-bound book using subtitles from Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver (1976). The video work is a hand-drawn replication of the subtitles of the original movie. Each subtitle is drawn onto individual sheets of paper that are then scanned, the drawing erased and the page re-scanned. The video is constructed based on the original timing of the subtitles in Taxi Driver. The book contains all the remnant sheets of paper, comprising approximately 1200 pages. The pages have had the subtitles erased, so the viewer sees the slightest traces of text. The only remnant of the original movie is the time structure and the subtitles. Without the actors, scenes and images, the subtitles are disjointed and nonsensical, confronting a viewer who has no idea what the confrontation is. The book stands as the physical record of the drawings, but with only a trace of the text remaining. The original content of these drawings only exists as scanned images in a film.

In exhibtion, the single-channel video (1:47:01) is accompanied by a handmade leather-bound book (300 x 240 x 230mm).

Installation images: from Oscar: With a sinister hoist, the semaphore flag, North Projects, Christchurch, June 2016. Images by Daegan Wells. Courtesy of North Projects.