Magazine article Artforum International

Tim Hyde: Max Protetch

Magazine article Artforum International

Tim Hyde: Max Protetch

Article excerpt

Tim Hyde uses video to examine architecture--a relationship between media that brings to mind Dan Graham's ongoing investigation of public and private space, as well as Doug Aitken's Sleepwalkers, 2007. But Hyde is less interested in contrasting the time-based quality of one with the space-based element of the other than in using these complementary practices to examine the psychological result of inhabiting a body inside a built space.

These concerns are most profoundly explored in The Keeper, 2006, in which the camera focuses on an elderly woman's back. Hyde set out to film the repeating concrete arches in a former KGB building (now a fast-food restaurant) in Ukraine but found an unexpected collaborator in a woman who felt compelled, for unknown reasons, to block his camera with her body. So, we end up focusing not on the architecture but on the weave of the woman's sweater, the strands of white hair escaping her prodigious bun, and her brief suspicious glances at the camera. It is a reversal of a Warhol screen test--inadvertent, inverted, obstructing rather than revealing--but every bit as compelling a psychological slice. It's impossible to know the motivation for the woman's vigilance; she might just as well be objecting to the invasion of privacy in a public space as thwarting the artist in a curious conflation of former-secret-police tactics, a kind of throwback paranoia--it is tempting to imagine--leaching from the building's very walls.

Suspicion and anxiety are also the prevailing moods of Invisible City, 2005, a five-minute six-second video that Hyde shot on his first night in Belarus. The mood is partly due to familiar B-movie techniques--the quick, paranoid pan across the frame, the looming close-up of a dark tunnel--but there is a feeling of strangeness and newness that transcends cinematic cliche. …

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