Passage

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[…] The work Passage (2013) is a major variation, in which Oppl picks up the aspect of the decomposition of perception, however, without showing the apparatus that generates the video image. In this work he parts with the system of a circuit connected in real time by separating production and presentation from each other. The filmic illusions of space addressed in Passage are fragile and broken all the same. Similar to many of his other works Oppl builds on the viewer's film-related experiences. Owing to our cinema and television experiences we know very well how to read camera movements in films and what they mean in the context of the respective action. In Passage Oppl takes as a starting point the so-called Vertigo effect, an optical illusion which puts a room into a vortex-like motion. This technique entails moving the camera in the opposite direction of the zoom. It was first used by Alfred Hitchcock as a means to visualise vertigo. The pivotal moment is the subjectivisation of the space which in turn becomes part of the protagonist, an extension of his or her body and psyche. In Passage Oppl zeroes in on precisely this moment in which the space starts to move, when perception can no longer differentiate who or what is moving - the space or oneself - which establishes an odd relation between viewer and space. Instead of the Vertigo technique, however, Oppl applies reversion: Instead of moving the camera he moves the entire space, once again using a miniature model. Passage consists of three video sequences in which moving different elements in the room initially creates the illusion that the recording camera is moving. The room elements - a space-filling black square, a mirror that doubles the room - do not only move in one direction, at first away from the camera, but also back towards the camera. By no later than the second movement the illusion collapses in parts. All three sequences merely hint at the illusion of camera movement intentionally without really acquitting it, but also without completely dismantling it. This way, Passage creates a state of floatation of sorts in which illusion is generated while at the same time its production method is visible to a certain degree. […]

Jürgen Tabor