Doug Hall

The Terrible Uncertainity of the Thing Described

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CLIENT: Doug Hall
2000

Doug Halls environment allows for a complex spatial experience through the cooperation of several media. The whole of the exhibition area is integrated into the dramaturgy by creating a complex spatial structure with the help of various steel constructions and by using the walls as projection screens.

Within the darkened room, huge video projections and six video monitors create a dramatic scenery of tempests, fires and floods. These impressive but non-directive—and virtual—energy potentials of Nature presented to the audience both as video images and as sounds, are contrasted with a physical installation exhibit: In certain intervals, a Tesla coil produces enormous “live” electrical discharges in the hall.

The name of Doug Halls installation THE TERRIBLE UNCERTAINTY OF THE THING DESCRIBED refers to Edmund Burkes “A Philosophical Inquiry into the Origins of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful”. Hall draws on Burke’s description of the relationship between Man’s awe in the face of the powers of nature and the sciences quest for enlightenment, staging this field of tension with the help of video technology and various steel constructions. Both fascinating and frightening, the installation does not only deliver a representation, but also an analysis of the transformation of energy. The taming of the sometimes destructive natural powers, represented by the artificial electrical arcs created with the Tesla coi, l seems to be successful; yet it becomes obvious—also under consideration of the latest news of natural disasters all over the world—that Man with all the technology at his hands still is not able to canalise more than a fraction of these enormous powers.

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