Taking the Rist

Pipilotti Rist is a video artist from Switzerland who stimulates her viewers’ senses and evokes pleasure and fantasy with her mutli-projector video installations. The idea behind her art is that the world has already been largely explored through geography, science, and more practical disciplines. “Pictures or film are the new, unexplored spaces into which we can escape.” She was born in the sixties, around the same time that video art was beginning, so it’s interesting that the medium she uses she essentially grew up with!

Some of Rist’s method involve doing a lot of shooting, but not really with what we think of as a film crew. Rather, she uses small groups or even shoots individually. She likes to keep it in control and these are the same people that work in the post production process. She likes the people on her crew to be well-versed in many subjects; they don’t all have to or just have to be filmmakers. She films multiple takes and “it has an experimental process; you try again and again until you have it”. She then takes a very individual and personal approach to the editing process

I constantly find myself using images, and television and movie film as a form of escapism, so hopefully I will find some ways to relate to her art even though they are pretty eccentric.

This video compiles clips of multiple different works. Rist definitely captures her over all theme of creating fantastic worlds, and the way she directs her subjects definitely gave it a feel of fantasy (for instance, in the beginning of the video where the woman is skipping around in the ruby slippers). We were able to escape into the world of Eden for the first time, and the symbolism behind “Eve” stomping the fruit to nothingness had a message of incredible power. I appreciated the use of the different angles, the way the camera captured a swirling sensation in the first scene, and the way she overlays two or more different clips in “A Liberty Statue for London” and “A la belle etoile”.

Overall, Pipliotti Rist’s style and subject matter was not my forte, but her film techniques and the way she approaches her process and forming her team are definitely aspects I see myself adopting into my own art.


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