Reuben Lorch-Miller and Heidi Schlatter at Schroeder Romero

Reuben Lorch-Miller Untitled (Helicopters) 2004 video projection [still]

There was a time when my relationship to the helicopter was very simple. I absolutely loved these machines, and of course like most little kids I wanted one of my own.

Even if they had been used during the Korean War their role seemed to be fundamentally that of angels of mercy as they facilitated the evacuation of the wounded. Then, I think sometime during the horror of the Viet Nam years, I became aware of the concept of the helicopter gunship and the discovery deeply disturbed me: Helicopters were being used in anger. More recently these great noisy dragonflies have assumed an impossibly heavy role in several particularly indefensible contemporary wars in the Middle East, where they strike indiscriminate terror among both civilians and combatants whom we or Israel have labelled as the enemy.

Even here in a fundamentally peaceful Manhattan, while residents are not the target of helicopter-borne rockets and machine guns, we are all regularly assaulted day or night by the frightening whup-whup-whup of these almost unequivically sinister and fundamentally military flying machines as they pass or hover low above our homes, often shinning high-powered searchlights on apartments below.

Sometimes they come in packs and they stay in packs, and it is that very scary phenomenon which Reuben Lorch-Miller addresses in a powerful and strangely beautiful video currently being shown at Schroeder Romero* in Williamsburg.

I have to point out that although in the video the helicopters are for the most part only hovering in place, a still image like the one above is almost meaningless, especially without that nightmare sound. See the artist's site to download an excerpt which includes sound.

Heidi Schlatter Partridge Nest 2005 Duratrans in light box 16" x 20" [installation view]

In the main gallery Heidi Schlatter is showing rich lightbox photographs of staged deaths recorded in almost-ordinary landscapes. In each of these sets there seems to be something off - these are places neither quite natural nor obviously designed. The press release explains:

Heidi Schlatter's solo exhibition features lightbox images of rural locations in Switzerland and New York State, which draw connections between the natural landscape, photography and advertising. The recognizable logos in these oxymoronic scenes of faked deaths and accidents contrast the pervasive cultural optimism of branding and product placement with a sense of dread and doom.

* apparently because of a glitch, at the moment the gallery website does not include the current show

[image at the top from Schroeder Romero]

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Published on June 5, 2005 10:51 PM.

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