Landscapes and Subtitles | Salon 94

Landscapes and Subtitles, 2013

C Spencer Yeh

​I have been collecting these sorts of landscape videos for a while, shot on cellphone, mostly using existing structures as "natural tripods." At first I started shooting these videos as "moving" stills, often shot while travelling, for the same reasons anyone may take photos or home video. As they grew in number, I wasn't quite sure what to do with them, though they have occasionally popped up in some performances as a visual element. Presented by themselves, they begged an extra something, without interfering with their landscape/home video quality. I hesitate to say they are bland or mundane landscapes, but I also hesitate to say they can exist wholly by themselves at this point in the history and baggage of the wide shot gaze, and so I continue to look for ways to frame them.

After years of having worked with non-English language movies as separate video and subtitle files, and often just the subtitles themselves, I started to think about these subtitles as narratives themselves. Though dialogue is often considered the primary driver of conventional narrative, consumed by themselves they take on this awkward and ghostly quality – they do not read as one assumes a script would. Translated movie subtitles don't carry with them the same consideration and quality than, say, translations of other texts and prose. The perceived role of subtitles in being primarily pragmatic results in a stiffness of execution further magnified by the absence of the visual – the framing context of a movie, which convinces the viewer into an agreement in excusing this unpolished language. So these videos are a result of the above – working with fictional subtitles based on fictional movies juxtaposed over real landscape videos intended to evoke widescreen wordless narratives.

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6 minutes

February 18, 2014–February 25, 2014

Past Videos 2014

The Last Trumpet Compilation

Terry Adkins

October 30–January 11

Om Rider Trailer

Takeshi Murata

November 05–December 21

Exhibit of Abstract Art

Jayson Musson

May 07–June 21


Laurie Simmons

March 07–April 28

Beauty in Danger

Brian Alfred

February 27–March 06

The Art Handlers

Jeremy Couillard

February 01–February 12

California King and Paint It Black

Ann Trondson

January 13–January 31


Terry Adkins

October 30–January 11