Oratorium voor geprepareerde videoplayer en acht monitoren [Oratorio for Prepared Video-Player and Eight Monitors]

Frank Theys


Installation, 00:02:00.
Materials: Umatic

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. M00031).

Oratorium (Oratorio) was shown for the first time in 1989 in the Beursschouwburg in Brussels and a year later also in the Netherlands and in Russia. In 1993 it was shown for the first time in M HKA in the “Retrospective of Belgian video installations” exhibition. The installation is made up of eight TV screens facing the centre and set up in a circle around a video player. A video tape loop comes out of the video player, passing by several tripods before returning into the player. All eight TV screens play the image and the sound that is on this tape. The music is from the male choir of the Catholic University of Leuven, singing a polyphonous version of the famous sporting anthem You’ll never walk alone. This fragment is constantly repeated while the TV screens show eight close-ups, each of one of the singers. The installation thus combines space and image as well as music. The TV screens seem to support their own carrier. Since the image can never exist without the carrier (the videotape).

The title Oratorium (Oratorio) has double meaning. On the one hand, it is musical play without the stage setting, on the other hand it is also a prayer room with a small altar, in this case a small table with a video player. Theys creates a sacral space where ritual and alienation meet. At the same time, he also pokes fun at big emotions such a patriotism and rivalry.

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