Text:Nicole F. Loeser

The focus of the instal­la­tion, cis, by Elmar Hess, is that of a video pro­jec­tion depict­ing a sea’s water­line quick­ly slip­ping by. Tak­en from the van­tage point of a ship’s port­hole, white-capped waves wash in peaks and val­leys over its glass.

The move­ment of the water seems to mim­ic the tone and rhythm of a pecu­liar­ly unfold­ing music that accom­pa­nies the video. The key to this audio coun­ter­part is c-sharp.

With­in the room of the video pro­jec­tion a series of large tubu­lar bells chimes are sus­pend­ed from above that togeth­er com­prise a musi­cal scale. Between these dor­mant tubes, live birds fly freely through the space. Their bright chirps estab­lish a coun­ter­point to the antic­i­pat­ed deep res­o­nance of the bells, while their errat­ic flut­ter­ing about dynam­i­cal­ly con­trasts the con­tin­u­ous, reg­u­lar shift­ing weight of the ship’s hull with­in the video.

The work, cis, (mean­ing C-Sharp), is one com­po­nent of a larg­er project titled, Eliz­a­beth, which com­pris­es a five-room instal­la­tion. It address­es the func­tion of indi­vid­u­als in the greater con­text of today’s rapid pace of change. (…)